According to job advertisements obtained by Protocol, Amazon is looking for a “new-to-the-world smart-home product” that incorporates “XR” technology in some way.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many detailed details mentioned in the postings. “Conceiving and building crucial software and architecture for a new-to-world smart-home device,” according to one job posting for a “software engineer — XR/AR, XR/AR Devices.” The position will be part of a “new cross-functional team.”
“You will convert an advanced XR research concept into a magical and helpful new-to-world consumer product,” according to another job posting for a “Sr. Technical Program Manager, New Products — XR.” The following required qualities are included in one listing and another: “experience creating profoundly technical products, e.g., AI/ML, robots, games.” A request for comment from Amazon was not immediately returned.
Many major IT businesses are dipping their toes into the world of augmented reality and virtual reality. Meta, previously Facebook, is the company that has made the greatest progress in this approach; it currently produces the popular Quest headset and smart glasses in collaboration with Ray-Ban, and it plans to debut its first AR spectacles in 2024.
Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality/virtual reality headgear might debut in 2023. Google plans to release its augmented reality headgear in 2024. Snapchat’s real AR glasses were revealed in May, and while The Verge checked them out in December, they aren’t yet available to the general public. For years, Microsoft has been marketing the HoloLens.
Given its extensive line of smart home devices, Amazon may have an edge in AR (and VR if it chooses to adopt that technology). I can envision a situation in which a pair of Amazon AR / VR glasses interact with other Alexa-enabled devices to provide you with a real-time view of everything going on in your house. (And that would be an improvement over the present Echo Frames.)
But keep in mind that this is the same organization that has come up with some out-of-the-box ideas in the past. Depending on your viewpoint, the failing Fire Phone may alter what you saw on the screen. At the time, the Amazon Echo smart speaker, which is now standard, was a very new concept. Amazon has also just released Astro, a household robot. All of this is to indicate that Amazon might have some fascinating ideas for its new AR/XR gadget as well.