A year after making a splash at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with Amazon Alexa integration, smartglasses maker Vuzix is bringing a notable weather app to its Blade smartglasses for the 2019 edition of the conference.
Vuzix has announced that its Blade device will now display current weather conditions and forecasts for a user’s home and other destination cities within their field of view via the Accuweather app.
The smartglasses version of the app will launch in the first quarter of 2019, but in its current smartphone incarnation it’s already one the most popular weather apps, boasting more than 50 million installs on the Play Store alone.
“AccuWeather is one of the most trusted and recognized weather brands in the world with the largest collection of weather data,” said Paul Travers, Vuzix president and CEO, in a statement.
“We are excited to be partnering with AccuWeather to deliver localized digital weather content and information via the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses for users at home or on-the-go across the globe, wherever they are.”
Vuzix continues to emphasize the consumer-friendly features of its wearable device, which enables users to pair the device with an iPhone or Android device and receive notifications or interact with apps within their field of view.
A new promotional video teases future apps from Uber, Yelp, Motiv, Strava, and others, alongside the confirmed Alexa and Accuweather apps, native text messaging, and camera functionality. And while a Vuzix spokesperson told Next Reality that the company cannot confirm the availability of these other apps yet, Accuweather is certainly part of the device’s array of apps.
“With Vuzix, an innovator and category leader in AR smart glasses, we will deliver up-to-date weather forecasts and tools needed to help users prepare and stay prepared for a truly personalized and intimate weather experience on a level that only AR technology can provide,” said Steve Smith, president of AccuWeather Digital Media.
Currently, the Vuzix Blade is available for anyone to order for $999 through Vuzix, with shipping quoted at four-to-six weeks from order date. Competitively, that price point places Vuzix Blade against the North Focals, which offer similar hands-free information, apps, and Alexa integration, but eschews the camera (and the privacy concerns that accompany them) in favor of a slimmer and more fashion friendly form factor.
However, Vuzix already has a software developers kit ready, while North has not yet made one available to developers. With the SDK and its Android-based operating system, Vuzix has the advantage of being able to add new apps faster than North. The Vuzix App Store currently lists 102 apps available for Blade, with Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Instagram, Firefox, and Skype among the notable consumer apps available.
So will consumers be willing to forego fashion in favor of broader functionality at a $1,000 price point? Or, as Apple has demonstrated again and again with smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and now wireless earbuds (AirPods), will most consumers opt to wait for Tim Cook and his company’s take on smartglasses?
Even if Apple’s smartglasses don’t enter the fray until 2020, as some reports suggest they might, it appears that 2019 may give us an early answer regarding the public’s interest, or lack thereof, in smartglasses for notifications, thanks to the efforts of both Vuzix and North.