Just a few weeks after Google Glass shut its doors, Sony has pulled the covers off the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1. It's available for preorder today and will be available in 10 countries when it launches officially on March 10, for £520 (without tax) in the UK and $840 in the US.
Like Glass, SmartEyeGlass uses augmented reality to super-impose an image over your field of view, but rather than supporting colour optics, Sony's smart glasses will display everything in bright green, at a resolution of 419 x 138 pixels.
There is a significant difference between Google and Sony's efforts. Whereas Glass used a projection unit, SmartEyeGlass projects overlays onto the full-frame transparent lenses, filling your field of vision.
The 3mm lenses themselves still have 85% transparency so you can easily read the projected information, but still see the world around you clearly.
Sony claims that the monochrome display allows for extended battery life, but only quotes numbers of around 150 minutes without using the camera, and 80 minutes of full camera use.
Again, perhaps this is a product of this being a development kit, and the final version will include a larger battery.
I can see clearly now
As you might expect, the glasses themselves come loaded with sensors including accelerometer, gyroscope, brightness sensor and an electronic compass to track your orientation. That's not forgetting the 3MP CMOS image sensor, capable of 3MP stills and QVGA video at 15 frames per second.
It also comes with a wired controller that packs battery, speaker, microphone, NFC chip and touch-sensitive controls.
You'll need Android 4.4 as a minimum if you're interested in picking up a pair, with a number of apps to access Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and others slated to hit Google Play on March 10th.
While better looking than Glass, Sony's eyewear still isn't what we'd call subtle, but bear in mind this is still just a development version - the final version will likely be very different aesthetically. Let's hope so anyway.
YouTube : www.youtube.com/embed/Bx7O_h09HKA