Smartglasses vuzix maker made a big splash at CES 2018 when he placed the Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant among the AR superpowers of his consumer-oriented blade smart glasses. Support from Google Assistant for Blade.
The app is now available through the Vuzix App Store. Blade owners need a Google Account and at least version 1.2.0 of the Blade Companion App to get started.
Vuzix also recommends Bluetooth or wired headphones to use the voice-activated features. While the Blade has a built-in microphone for voice input, the device does not have an embedded speaker for Assistant audio output. Fortunately, Blade has its own Bluetooth headset and an audio jack for wired third-party headphones.
After installing the app, users can set the wizard as the default language assistant in the device settings. From there, users can wake up the assistant with a long press of the touchpad with three fingers. The command works from any screen, regardless of which app is active, so users can talk to the wizard without changing the apps.
However, Vuzix points out that the app is an experimental build that is not officially supported by Google, so some features may not work. According to a company spokesman, many of the basic features are functional, but more advanced features work especially those who need access to Google services may not. In other words, users might expect Google to check the weather or return general search results, for example. However, accessing personal calendar events or casting videos to a Chromecast-connected TV does not work.
Despite some rogue nature of the app, support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa gives the Vuzix Blade added mainstream appeal and more differentiation from its main competitor in the Consumer Smart Glasses sector North's Focals, which only supports Alexa when he does activated by the handheld loop controller. (Considering that Amazon invested in North, do not breathe in to add Google Assistant for Focals.)
Vuzix may also claim better support for third-party apps, with Accuweather, Yelp , Pandora and Spotify are among the other mainstream apps available for Blade. So far, support for third-party apps for focals (except Alexa) is limited to Uber.
Of course, there are many other considerations between the two Smart Glass options for consumers, such as: Style, functionality and price. While the market is currently limited, the landscape will expand exponentially over the next few years. Tech giants like Apple and Facebook are expected to enter the fight and, like Nreal, be ready to present their own ideas about AR wearables.