Sunglasses that double up as speakers: A critique

Call me old-fashioned, but can we stop trying to make sunglasses do more than they’re supposed to? You’d think that protecting us against UV rays and making us look super stylish is more than enough, however, clearly our accessories need to sing, dance, and cook us dinner nowadays. You know the great thing about headphones? No one else needs or wants to hear the music you’re listening to at that moment. The problem with Bose’s new $200 sunglasses – called Frames – is that others around you are going to hear your playlist, whether they like it or not.

Bose’s new Frames are yet another addition to the gadget fashion industry, which is quickly becoming rather crowded. We’ve already dealt with the disaster that was Google Glass, then Snapchat came along with its expensive, and not-very-useful Spectacles, and let’s not forget (or maybe we should forget) the IRL Glasses, which block out TV screens for some reason. To hear that Facebook is already working on their very own augmented reality glasses is a worrying sign – especially considering its recent security breach and data scandal.

Virtual reality glasses? That’s something I can get on board with, even if they are a dying fad. At least they are doing one job and aren’t trying to be ten things at once. We have smartphones, we have headphones, we have portable speakers, we have cameras and we have sunglasses… why must we design a gadget that is all of these in one? Connecting my sunglasses to a computer to recharge? This isn’t 3018 yet, we should be happy with what we’ve got. Opt for Gucci frames if you want to treat yourself, just not anything that takes pictures or plays music, thank you very much.

I get that this is the digital age and we are constantly seeking to create, explore and innovate – especially when it comes to gadgets – but the issue is that, well, these aren’t things that the average person will actually wear. Journalists will try them out and proclaim them to be the “next big thing” in fashion tech, a few bloggers or influencers will get freebies and tell their followers how awesome they are, and a couple of people will buy them for a quick laugh, then grow tired and go back to just, you know, regular sunglasses. I fear that more of these specialized glasses are on the way, but I think I’ll opt out of this fad.

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