Vuzix announced that the demand for the Vuzix Blade beta developer kits outpaced the company’s expectations. Sign-ups for the beta program are closed, and all the beta headsets are spoken for, but you can still get in line for an early Blade headset via the Vuzix Blade Edge program.
Vuzix made a big announcement at CES that appears to have spurred the development community. Ahead of the show, Vuzix revealed the Vuzix Blade Smartglasses, an augmented reality headset in the form of a pair of glasses. When the company first announced the Blade Smartglasses, we suggested that these could be “the breakthrough in AR devices that we’ve been waiting for.” Given the response that Vuzix received from the development community, it’s safe to say that we’re not alone in thinking that.
Vuzix announced that its limited run of Vuzix Blade beta development kits has sold through. The company didn’t say how many dev kits were available on the first run, but it received more requests for hardware than it could fulfill in the first round. In response to the overwhelming demand, Vuzix launched the Vuzix Blade Edge program to give even more people early access to the Blade platform. The company explained:
"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. 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," said Paul Travers, CEO and President of Vuzix. "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."
The Vuzix Blade Edge program isn’t quite a beta program, but it enables more developers to get in on the ground floor and start creating content for the upcoming device. The Edge program features three different member groups. Developers can sign up to become a Blade Edge Architect, which gives them access to the Vuzix Blade SDK to create applications and an emulator to ensure the software would work well on the Blade Smartglasses. Blade Edge Architects will also eventually receive early Vuzix Blade hardware.
Vuzix created the Blade Edge @Work member group for enterprise companies, solution providers, and system integrators. This level offers SDK and emulator access and the early spot in line for hardware like the Architect group. @Work members are also assigned a dedicated account manager to provide “support through the development, pilot, and deployment” of their software.
The Vuzix Blade Edge program also features a tier for individuals who wish to be involved in the community. The Blade Edge Engage member group enables you to communicate directly with Vuzix and Blade Edge members to “share ideas and provide valuable feedback” to the development community. Blade Edge Engage members also receive priority placement for the first public Blade shipments.
Vuzix is now accepting applications for all three tiers of the Blade Edge program. To reserve a spot in the Edge Architect or Edge @Work member groups, you must fill out an application and submit a $250 deposit. Vuzix charges $1,000 for the full package and the balance is due upon approval for the program.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.