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Exclusive: Bose discontinues its Frames line of audio smart glasses

A man wearing the Bose Frames Tempo outdoors.
The Bose Frames line of audio smart glasses has been discontinued. Bose / Bose

Bose has confirmed to Digital Trends that it is discontinuing its Bose Frames line of audio glasses. Almost five years to the day after Bose launched the Frames as part of a larger audio augmented reality initiative, the company only has one model left on its site, the Frames Tempo, which are listed as sold out — and with the price also slashed in half, at that. Over the years, Bose sold several versions including the Alto, Soprano, Tenor, Rondo, and Tempo.

Ironically, it was the launch of Amazon’s third-gen Echo Frames audio smart glasses that prompted us to reach out to Bose, which told us that “Bose is in the process of phasing out Frames.”

In a follow-up email with Bose, we were told that “the majority of our inventory is sold through. You might see some on the Bose website between now and the holidays, but by the end of the year, they will no longer be available.” Existing Bose Frames owners will still receive support from Bose, and the company has said that all active warranties will remain intact.

Bose Frames Alto review
Bose Frames Alto. Rich Shibley / Digital Trends

The Bose Frames (and audio glasses in general) have received mixed reviews since their debut. The consensus was that the idea of blending sunglasses or prescription glasses with built-in speakers and microphones has merit.

Unfortunately, audio quality usually disappointed, which overshadowed the utility angle. Digital Trends reviewer Andy Boxall summed up this perspective in 2021 when he said unequivocally: “Bluetooth audio smartglasses are a waste of space on your face.” It didn’t help that shortly after the Bose Frames launched, Bose shut down the audio AR platform that it had used to promote the new product.

Despite this lukewarm reception, the industry isn’t giving up on the idea of putting speakers, mics, cameras, and even screens on our faces. Bose might be done with its Frames, but Meta and Ray-Ban are investing heavily in their joint smart glasses product and Amazon is on its third-gen Echo Frames model. Even AR refuses to die, although most companies are focused on visual AR, not audio AR.

It’s not the first time that Bose has stepped back from a category it helped to define, even as competitors rush to provide alternatives. In 2021, it released the Bose Sport Open — the first open-ear earbuds. In late 2022, it killed them. In the final days of 2023, it seems as though Bose is one of the only companies that doesn’t sell an open-ear earbuds model.

Even though the company has discontinued two open-ear products in a row, apparently Bose is merely taking a breather before it tries again. “We haven’t abandoned the open-ear category,” our contact told us — so stay tuned; Bose might have something new for us to check out in the not-too-distant future.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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