Sony launches SmartEyeglass, its Google Glass alternative

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By Larry Banks

Sony has just made its augmented reality glasses, SmartEyeglass, available for preorder in ten countries starting from next month.

Sony SmartEyeglass breaks the mould

The latest wearable device from Sony, the SmartEyeglass, can be preordered in the UK for £620 ($840), and German, with Japan and the US to follow soon. The glasses work with Android devices, and promise the wearer an augmented reality experience where computer-generated visuals are overlaid onto the real world.

Last month, Google withdrew its Google Glass smart glasses from sale, stating that the product would be redeveloped and eventually launched as a consumer product, though no timescales have been announced. That hasn’t stopped Sony from developing its own version, with a software development kit that will allow people to design innovative apps for the device.

The glasses are light at just 77g, and contain an accelerometer, a gyroscope, compass, image and brightness sensors, in addition to a 3 megapixel camera and microphone. There is also a controller module which can be attached to clothing, which provides a built-in speaker, touch sensor and battery.

Text is shown in front of the wearer’s eyes in a kind of green font, but it remains to be seen how effective this is at conveying information of relevance to users.

Intrusive, or compelling…?

Sony SmartEyeglass

Opinions about wearable eye glasses differ widely – for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been particularly open about his disdain for smart glasses as a wearable device:

“We always thought that glasses were not a smart move, from a point of view that people would not really want to wear them,” he said to the New Yorker.

“They were intrusive, instead of pushing technology to the background, as we’ve always believed.”

And Stuart Miles, founder of tech news site Pocket-lint, said: “I think Sony is wasting their time, energy and effort.

Sony SmartEyeglass Example

“Google Glass obviously needed a complete rethink… I can’t see how something thick-rimmed and more invasive-looking than Google Glass is going to catch on.

“People are keen on wearables like fitness bands and watches, but they care about their faces. Wearing something on your head is a lot stronger than wearing something on your arm,” he added.

“The industry keeps pushing it but consumers just don’t want it”.

It remains to be seen just how much interest there is for Sony’s SmartEyeglass product, and wearable smart glasses in general.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos