Before I start, I would like to say that this is coming from the point of view of someone who was fortunate enough to get a few months funded to my Aira. That being said, I am going to base my opinion on a financial standpoint as well as looking at the benefits for both the users and Aira.
I am going to start mentioning new plans. Before anyone panics, as of 5/27/2019, if you have continued to hold onto your current plan, this still will not effect you. If you want to keep your plan, have at it. The only exception to this is the premium stipulation; if you hold on to that plan, you will have a 700 minutes every month. Now with that out of the way, let’s begin.
The New Plans
All I’m going to say is pick your poison.
Ok fine, I’ll outline the plans, all obvious sarcasm aside.
At any rate, that link above will actually list the plans in greater detail, and allow you to sign up to the plan of your choice. The most exciting thing for new subscribers, however, is the $29 a month 30minute plan.
This gives you 30minutes of Aira use per month on your smartphone. So while you can’t expect to use it for navigational purposes, you can most certainly use it if you are in a pinch and need help with a quicker task. Not to mention the fact that it is an excellent introductory price for folks who are just looking to start off easy as far as trying the service is concerned. The only stipulation with this plan is that the glasses are not included, nor can you include them in your plan. Thus, this plan would no doubt require your phone to have a good camera (I personally use a pixel2, who’s camera you really can’t go wrong with at all.) You also will no doubt upgrade your plan when you begin to get comfortable with the service, thereby implementing the glasses into your plan.
The standard plan covers 120 minutes for $99. A step up from the previous $89 plan, this adds 20 minutes to that at an extra $10. Not bad, as long as you don’t intend on using it for long-term navigational purposes, or have a very inaccessible program you have to use for long periods of time. It’s a nice way to meet in the middle if you moderately use it. Remember that the Aira Access network is constantly growing, so in due time you probably might wind up not needing many personal minutes after all.
This plan covers 300 minutes for $199. While this is unfortunately a step down from the previous 400 minute plan for $199, 300 minutes is still a good amount of minutes. You can do quite a lot in 300 minutes, unless you require constant regular use of an inaccessible program like I once did.
The Replaced Premium
For $329 a month, *existing premium users only* are now given a 700minute plan. Most folks using the premium plan fell under that minute count anyway, so it makes sense for Aira and its users. The original premium plan was said to be unsustainable by the company, which does make sense as for only $329, that opens up the potential for people to technically be able to use thousands of minutes if they so desired. I doubt that users actually made that happen, but there were enough users that exceeded a reasonable minute threshold that makes sense for the $329. Facilitating that would not make financial sense, so I would suppose it made sense for Aira to meet in the middle as far as providing a premium plan is concerned; while not removing it entirely, they determined, based off more moderate premium usage statistics, a fair minute count to put the $329 plan at. Keep in mind that all these professional, trained agents, as well as the development and support teams, all need to be paid, obviously. If they allow something that doesn’t make financial sense to continue, they’ll be losing sustainable revenue in the long-run.
Horizon Glasses are now Rent-to-own
Note: I believe that Austria glass users can continue to keep the Austria glasses as long as they remain active with their plan, but please do not quote me on this.
Horizon is Aira’s stunning new pair of smart glasses. They are the first pair of smart glasses to offer top-notch hardware specifications to facilitate Aira’s needs. With a front-firing camera as opposed to a side-mounted on, and the ability to be powered by an eight hour battery, you just can’t go wrong with these. At this point I am not a Horizon user yet, but I am going off of what I’ve heard about it. The device that drives the show is a Samsung J7 smartphone with Aira Horizon software installed. The glasses connect to it via a cable that is designed to go down your back so that it isn’t intrusive. That is how the glasses can go off of an eight hour battery, and have your internet connection built in. The phone also features the chloe virtual assistant, and at this point she can read printed text that you present to her, as well as control various functions of the phone.
This device is rent-to-own, at $25 a month over a 24 month period. You can also purchase them outright if you so choose. A rather good smartphone and a pair of smart glasses for $600? That’s not half bad!
I am very glad that Aira has come up with an introductory plan to get new subscribers comfortable with the service. A lot of folks were intimidated by the higher introductory price, and rightfully so. But remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember that Aira Access partners are constantly being added (I just was made aware of the MBTA being given a pilot run of free access), so a future where most minutes are paid for by access partners doesn’t seem that far off. Additionally, if you click on a referral link, that is to say any link to subscribe to Aira you may receive from someone with an active account, you get your first month absolutely free. If it turns out you cannot financially sustain it, you can cancel. However, referring people does give you credit as well! Not only do you get a free month when you sign up through a referral, but once you start paying for a subscription, the referrer gets the value of your first month for free. Likewise, if you pass out your own referral link, you too can continue to use Aira in this way. Everyone wins!