After Vuzix's scorching hot week at CES, the future of AR is so bright, we have to wear (smart) shades. Luckily, Vuzix is making it easier for consumers to grab a pair.
To address the apparent new interest in company's Amazon Alexa-equipped Blade smartglasses, the company has initiated the next phase of its market launch with three Blade Edge pre-order programs, including one called Blade Edge Engage that targets individual consumers. This new pre-order program gives individual buyers who have no company affiliation or role as a commercial developer priority access to the first public Blade shipments, which will cost $1,000 each.
In addition to hardware reservations, Blade Edge Engage participants will also be able to share their input, offering feedback that may guide the company's strategic direction for the device and its application ecosystem. For enterprise customers and developers, the Blade Edge @Work and Blade Edge Architect pre-order program participants receive the Vuzix Blade SDK, emulator, and technical specifications updates, with the former being assigned an account manager and the latter granted exclusive access to the Vuzix engineering team.
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"This much larger second wave of early Blade hardware will not only provide a competitive 'edge' to the developers and enterprise companies accepted into the program, but will also foster a larger ecosystem of consumer and enterprise apps that will bring even more value to the Blade user community when the Blade becomes publicly available later this year," said Paul Travers, CEO and president of Vuzix in a statement.
Enrollment in the Blade Edge Programs is limited and requires a $250 deposit, with $750 plus shipping and handling due upon device availability.
Previously, Blade devices were only made available for pre-order as part of a developer's kit. For $1,997, customers were slated to receive a pre-production unit and an upgrade to a production unit when available. That package has since sold out, and its pre-orders have been closed to make way for the new reservation programs.
"The Vuzix Blade developer kit pre-order program was a very successful program for the company, but reached its capacity well before satisfying all of the market demand," said Travers. "The launch of the new Vuzix Blade Edge program will now allow the company to address the strong and growing interest of thousands of developers, enterprise customers, and consumers."
To ramp up production, Vuzix is also shoring up its financial war chest by selling 3 million shares of its common stock to generate $30 million in funding.
"With all the increased business activities from the recent launch of the Vuzix Blade and the growing deployments around our workhorse M300, the response from both consumer and enterprise segments has been overwhelming," said Travers. "As a result, we felt that it would be prudent to strengthen our balance sheet."
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