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Amazon adds Alexa-enabled wearables and a smart oven to its line of devices

James Leggate

Amazon is adding ways to access its Alexa voice assistant wherever its customers go.

The company announced a plethora of devices Wednesday, including the Echo Buds, Echo Frames and Echo Loop, which are respectively wireless earbuds, glasses frames and a ring that each comes with Alexa access.

The glasses and ring are being offered as “Day 1 Editions,” products that Amazon said are offered as part of an invitation-only program. The Echo Frames come ready for prescription lenses, according to Amazon. Unlike Google’s earlier attempt at smart glasses — the Google Glass — Amazon’s specs don’t come with a camera or display. But wearers who pair them with an Android phone can make calls or listen to audio via four micro speakers that direct sound toward their ears and minimize sound heard by others.

The Echo Loop, which works with Androids and iPhones, vibrates when a wearer receives a notification or incoming call. It also has two microphones and the smallest speaker Amazon has ever included on an Echo device.

While the Frames and Loop are invitation-only, Amazon’s other Echo products are available for preorder. The AirPod-competing Echo Buds are priced at $129.99, and have up to five hours of music playback or four hours of call time on a full charge, according to Amazon. They can connect to Alexa through Amazon’s Alexa phone app, and wearers can also use them for tasks like finding a nearby coffee shop or ordering an Uber.

The new Echo devices also include the Echo Flex, a plug-in smart speaker; the Echo Dot with clock, which displays the time, outdoor temperature, timers and alarms; the Echo Show 8, which features an 8-inch display and a camera with shutter; Echo Studio with five directional speakers and an updated base Echo.

Amazon also announced some smart home devices, including a $249.99 voice-controlled oven. When paired with an Echo, Amazon said the Amazon Smart Oven can preheat, start and stop cooking, and it will notify the owner when it’s preheated or food is ready. Cooks can also scan the barcode on packaged foods from hundreds of brands and the company said the oven will know what to do.

The company is also adding features to Alexa, including a system that can alert a homeowner about an activated smoke alarm or breaking glass, manage Wi-Fi access such as pausing it when it’s time for dinner and track a home’s inventory of household supplies like air filters, batteries or ink cartridges.

Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of smart home, said the company’s customers want smart home technology to make everyday tasks easier, but also to be easy to set up.

“We think customers will be delighted with what we have coming this fall — more ways to find smart home devices they can set up in minutes, new Alexa features that take the stress out of being away from home, and new products that help families enjoy great meals together or just have a little fun.”

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