While Google Glass is still a work in progress and Microsoft’s HoloLens is still some time away, Sony prepares to launch it’s own headset called SmartEyeGlass.
Sony has not had the best of years. For the financial year ending in March the company will face a $1 billion loss as their smartphone and TV sectors fail to beat out competitors such as Samsung, Apple and LG. Just this Wednesday, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai announced plans to focus on camera sensors, entertainment and the company’s PlayStation gaming brand.
With all that in mind, it may seem unusual then that the company is preparing to enter a brand new market with untested waters and lots of competition. Going up against the big dogs at Google who are trying to make augmented reality (AR) popular with their Google Glass headset, Sony is going to launch an AR headset of their own.
The device is still in development but it’s called the SmartEyeGlass (kudos for originality on that one) and it looks to be a partnership or Google Glass as well as a ‘lite’ version of the holographic tech demoed in Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. As the above video shows, the Sony SmartEyeGlass will use “holographic waveguide technology” in 3mm AR lenses to put info right in front of your eyeballs. Although that demo video only shows messaging, along with directions it will also have its own suite of apps. Sony has said that Facebook and Twitter have their own apps and they’ve also rolled out an SDK (software development kit) so that developers who want to have a tinker around and make software for the SmartEyeGlass can do just that.
So far, so Google Glass clone. The only glaring difference wit the SmartEyeGlass (I really do hope they change that name) is the odd attachment that it comes with. Rather than just being able to listen to your voice commands automatically, or being controlled via hand gestures, SmartEyeGlass wearers will have to use the little black gadget to swipe along its interface or press its ‘Talk’ button in order to for voice commands to be heard. That seems a little counterintuitive if I’m honest because the point of these sorts of devices is that they give you access to things easily when you’re on the go, not with fiddly controls and button presses. However, it may stop wearers from looking insane as they talk to themselves and swipe madly in front of them, so maybe Sony is onto a trick there.
Other important specs include: 3MP camera, 80 minutes of battery life (when in use), 150 minutes of battery life (when on standby) and it supports Android 4.4 (it can be connected to your Android phone too). The SmartEyeGlass goes on sale in March in the US, UK, Germany and Japan for $840, 640 Euros and 100,000 yen.
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