The audio experts at Bose have announced that a new pair of smart glasses in on the way called 'Frames' that brings personal audio and AR experiences without the hassle of a camera, earbuds, or a heads-up display. Set to be released in the US in January 2019 for $199, with availability outside of the use starting "Spring" 2019, Frames are designed to look similar to modern sunglasses. They have uniformly-tinted lenses that block up to 99-percent of UVA/UVB rays. Two styles will be made available including a more angular design called Alto and a smaller round design called Rondo. Both will come in a matte black coloration. But Bose Frames are not just sunglasses. They are also true-wireless headphones, featuring the company's thinnest and lightest audio package to-date at 45 grams. The audio drivers and other core components are packed into the interior of the arms on Frames to deliver sound in an open-ear design directly to the user -- and only to the user, according to Bose -- via smartphone connectivity.
A microphone is embedded in the right-hand arm as well as a physical multi-function button. That enables compatibility with AI assistants such as Google Assistant, smart commands, media controls, and calls. The Bose Connect app extends functionality further, empowering Frames with Bose AR. The glasses will actually be the first commercial Bose device on the platform, offering audio AR experiences using 9-axis head motion and GPS. Bose hasn't detailed exactly what those experiences will be but has offered up a clue with experiences falling in categories of learning, entertainment, travel, gaming, and more. Those features will be shown off at SXSW 2019 in March. Frames ship with a protective carry case, lens cleaning cloth, and pogo-pin recharging cable. A charge can last for up to 3.5-hours and charging up only takes around 2-hours. Frames can remain on standby for around 12-hours. Pre-orders are open now for consumers in the US.
Background: Frames is actually Bose's second wearable audio device, following last year's launch of Bose Soundwear. The previous wearable was an entirely different type of device that essentially gave users a way to wear Bose-engineered speakers around their neck for $299. Soundwear was also compatible with some smart functionality via the ability to take and reject calls but lacked Bose AR, Google Assistant, and other features found in the new Frames. Although the neckband was flexible and could be reshaped to fit more comfortably, the previous device also didn't offer a truly personal experience. Conversely, Bose Frames are engineered to direct sound to the user to keep their listening in calls, media playback, and AR as private as possible.
Impact: As with the latest Bose wearable, no mention was made at launch regarding the exact specifications of the speakers found inside Frames. It may be fair to presume that they'll offer a top-notch quality of sound based solely on the fact that it's Bose who is releasing them but that won't be known for sure until after they begin shipping next year. In any case, Bose's decision to branch out further into the wearable categories should result in an interesting experience for users since it won't depend on visual overlays. Audio AR has not been one of the more prominent subcategories in terms of products released with augmented reality, so there is an almost endless number of ways Bose could bring those experiences forward with Frames.