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No second-gen Frames sunglasses as Bose shuts down its augmented reality project

The Boase Frames featured a small speaker in each of the arms that projects the sound towards your ears.

The Bose Frames combine sunglasses and a speaker. The sunglasses connect to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth

The Frame audio AR glasses could be the last such product from Bose, as the company has closed its entire augmented reality division. It appears that Bose’s vision to make augmented reality mainstream didn’t pan out, according to a report by Protocol. Key members of the company’s AR team have reportedly left, and Bose has notified its partners that their apps won’t work in the coming days. ‘

“Bose AR didn’t become what [it] envisioned,” a company representative told Protocol. “It’s not the first time our technology couldn’t be commercialized the way we planned, but components of it will be used to help Bose owners in a different way.”

Bose’s approach to make AR mainstream was quite different from the competition. It focused on sound than visuals. First shown at SXSW in Austin two years back, the AR glasses that Bose made cost $200. Even though the Bose Frames got positive reviews, the product was limited in functionality. Plus, the apps were also limited. Basically, the Bose Frames were smart audio glasses.

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From the beginning, Bose was ambitious about the Frames. The company even established a $50 million fund for Bose AR developers. However, things started to change, when Bose’s senior vice president John Gordon, left the company in June 2019. Soon most of the team who worked on the AR glasses were either left or were let go in the Spring. In April, Bose posted an FAQ where it explained that it had decided to close its Bose AR public beta SDK.

Bose, one of the prominent names in headphones and high-end audio, is going through a transformational phase. Earlier this year, the company announced it was closing all of its retail stores in the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. The company also quietly replaced its CEO Phil Hess earlier this year.

The news of Bose shutting down its AR division can be linked to the slow adoption of AR technology among consumers. Magic Leap, the high-profile AR startup, is also going through a rough phase.

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