The company yesterday announced Frames — sunglasses that double as wireless earphones and an augmented-reality device. Slated to ship in January for $199, the glasses have proprietary open-ear earphones and a tiny microphone built into the side arms for listening to music, making and receiving phone calls, and accessing virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.
A button on the right arm controls functions such as device pairing, answering calls, and pausing/skipping songs from a connected phone or other audio device, while a built-in lithium battery provides power. Play time is rated as 3.5 hours at average listening levels and up to 12 hours standby. Charging via the supplied “pogo-pin cable” takes less than 2 hours, according to Bose.
“They look and act like classic sunglasses — until you turn them on,” explained Mehul Trivedi, director of Bose Frames. “And then you’re connected to your phone, contacts, the web, and all its audible content, just like headphones. There’s nothing else like them.”
In addition to providing a stealthy way to listen to music and make calls, the Frames are compatible with the “audio augmented reality platform” Bose is developing.
Unlike other augmented reality glasses and platforms, Bose said its implementation of AR doesn’t change what you see or use a lens or phone camera to superimpose objects in your sightline. “Instead, it knows where you are and what you’re facing using a nine-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from your iOS or Android device — and automatically adds a layer of audio, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more.”
Bose is planning to unveil its augmented-reality platform and AR apps next year.
As sunglasses, the Frames are described as scratch- and shatter-resistant and said to block up to 99% of UVA/UVB rays. Two styles will be offered (shown above), both in matte black. A cleaning cloth/bag and protective case are included.
The Frames are available now for pre-order. For more information, visit bose.com.