Amazon Extends Alexa’s Reach Into Wearables

Amazon.com Inc. is bringing its Alexa virtual assistant to wearable products.

The e-commerce giant on Wednesday unveiled earbuds, glasses and a finger ring that will all have its virtual assistant built into them. Amazon announced the products during a press event in Seattle, where executives also introduced new Echo devices, including a high-end speaker and motion sensor, and updates across its portfolio.

With its new earbuds, named Echo Buds and costing $129, Amazon is undercutting rivals such as Apple Inc., which has controlled the market with its higher priced AirPods, which cost $159. Apple’s AirPods have 53% of the global earbud market share, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple is expected to sell 40 million AirPods in its current fiscal year, according to UBS.

“Amazon’s failure has been around mobile, and this is a chance for them to fix it,” analyst Gene Munster from Loup Ventures said. “This is a textbook opportunity for them because it’s at Apple’s expense. These companies need big levers to go after.”

Amazon has sought to put Alexa further into people’s lives since it introduced the device in 2014.

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