Bose is discontinuing its Frames line of audio smart glasses, which will no longer be available by the end of this year.
The news was first reported by Digital Trends, which quotes Bose as saying it’s in the process of phasing out the product line. Bose also separately confirmed the news to The Verge. It’s also clear the writing is on the wall if you look at the company’s website. Although Bose originally had multiple styles for the Frames, the only version still listed on the site is the sporty, Oakley-like Tempo. However, the product is technically sold out and marked down 50 percent at that.
According to the report, Bose has sold the majority of its remaining inventory, and while you may see some units pop up from now through the holidays, the glasses won’t be available after 2023. Active warranties, however, will still be honored. The report also notes that while the Frames lineup is being discontinued, Bose still hasn’t fully given up on the open-ear category. The Verge also reached out to Bose to clarify whether this includes future plans for smart glasses, but the company declined to comment further.
The first iteration of Bose Frames was pitched as a pair of smart glasses with audio-based augmented reality — a showcase for Bose AR. You could receive GPS audio directions, for example, and there was a smattering of audio-based story games. There were plans for New Balance to release an exercise app that never really got off the ground. Then, not too long after launching in 2018, the company shuttered its Bose AR division in 2020. The company then came out with a revamped version of the Frames in 2021, which were effectively a pair of open-ear headphones without any of the original’s AR ambitions.
While this isn’t a huge surprise, it is a bummer. As someone who used both iterations of the Frames — and even ran a half marathon using the Bose Frames Tempo — the Frames were comfortable to wear and had good battery life and better than average audio for the category.
It’s even more disappointing because this past year has seen a mini-resurgence in smart glasses with the second-gen Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and the third-gen Amazon Echo Frames. However, both those glasses do more than the Bose Frames. The Meta smart glasses, for example, also have a 12MP camera capable of recording video and livestreaming to Instagram. They were a significant improvement over the original Ray-Ban Stories, especially when it came to mic and audio quality. Meanwhile, the latest Echo Frames improved on style and expanded Alexa capabilities compared to previous iterations. The Bose Frames were just a good pair of audio sunglasses.
If anything, this is another indicator that smart glasses still have a ways to go before they’re a viable mainstream gadget. The Bose Frames may have had good audio, but that alone simply wasn’t enough.