Bose AR glasses

By: Bryan Tropeano

Back in March, I told you about the innovative AR sunglasses Bose introduced at SXSW. Well, now those sunglasses are available for pre-order and will begin shipping in January.

Bose Frames is what you get when a company that traditionally deals in audio edges into the AR sphere. While most devices that offer an AR experience use a visual element, Frames offers audio cues to the wearer based on their position. It uses both your GPS position as determined by your connected phone and a head motion sensor that tells it which way you’re facing. It can do things like tell you about a restaurant you’re facing, including if it’s any good. Or it can give you historical information if you’re next to a monument.

Now that I’ve got you hyped, it looks as though the AR functionality won’t be available right away. The press release states Frames “automatically adds a layer of audio, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more. It’s all accessible through the ease of listening – clear-eyed, heads up, hands-free. And with Bose AR experiences in development, it’s coming soon to Bose Frames.” It’s this last sentence that indicates that Frames won’t take advantage of AR capabilities from the get-go.

Looking into this further, it seems AR won’t be available until later in 2019. “Every pair of Bose Frames is already Bose AR-enabled. And it’ll be unlocked via free software update. Coming soon,” reads.

Of course, that’s the AR aspect of it. These glasses also offer the obligatory features of any respectable audio device, like listening to music and taking or making phone calls.

While other sunglasses may have used a similar gimmick to rope in consumers, Bose, as they’re want to do, took a different approach. Instead of separate earbuds that extend from the sunglasses into your ears, Frames has a unique set of speakers built into the two arms that project audio into your ear. They are pretty discreet even without using bone conduction tech.

One negative that might deter consumers is its low battery life. The battery lasts 3.5 hours with playback and up to 12 hours when it’s on standby. A full recharge takes about 2 hours.

With speakers, battery and whatever else they’ve packed into these sunglasses you’d expect it to be quite heavy, but they’ve kept it at a mere 45 grams. That’s not much more than your average pair of sunglasses.

Bose is offering two styles to choose from out of the gate, round (Rondo) and squared (Alto), with both sporting UV-blocking shades. Unfortunately, they don’t offer prescription specs yet.

You can pre-order Bose Frames for $199 and can expect them to ship January 2019.

Bryan TropeanoBryan Tropeano is a senior producer and a regular reporter for NewsWatch.  He lives in Washington D.C. and loves all things Tech.