Sony has been working on its own version of smart eyewear in the form of the SmartEyeglass. Although the final version of the product won't be out until 2016, the company is set to release SED-E1, or the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition, in the U.S., Japan, the UK and Germany on March 10.
If you live in the UK or Germany, you can pre-order the SmartEyeglass now. Sony is also planning to sell the same device exclusively to enterprise companies in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden starting on March 10. The goal of the expanded markets is to see how SmartEyeglass would work in an industrial setting, as opposed to general consumer use. The company is also including an updated version of the SDK for companies to integrate more apps with SmartEyeglass.
Unlike Google Glass, which requires a display over the right eye, the SmartEyeglass will display all the information on both lenses, which are only 3 mm thick, and sport a resolution of 419 x 138. According to Sony's video demo, the user scrolls through the displayed information with a touch sensor that is on the wired controller. Measuring 24 inches, the controller also houses the battery, microphone, and NFC connection.
The SmartEyeglass also comes with a camera which shoots up to 3 MP still photos. In terms of video, it will shoot in a JPEG stream with QVGA-equivalent 15 frames per second. Unfortunately, the video doesn't include sound, and shooting video requires a camera API, which could be built from the SDK.
The device supports Android 4.4 KitKat and above and allows Bluetooth 3.0 or 802.11bg Android connections. For battery, it can stay active for 150 minutes if you don't use the camera. With the camera on, the battery life is reduced to just 80 minutes. Regardless, the SmartEyeglass doesn't have the best battery life, but that could change in a year when it comes out for general consumption.
In terms of pricing, Sony definitely beats out Google by offering the SmartEyeglass at $840 for U.S. customers (100,000 yen in Japan, £520 in the U.K., and €670 for other European countries). Sony also has another eyewear device in the works, the SmartEyeglass Attach! which made its debut at CES 2015. Unlike the SmartEyeglass device, the Attach! can be fitted on any eyewear for easy use.
With Google halting sales of Glass, and working on the next version of the device, Sony hopes that it can firmly establish itself in this market. The company's initial target of enterprise customers could mean that smart eyewear will mostly benefit those in the industrial sector, but Glass showed that it could also work for everyday users.