Mere weeks after Google stopped selling Google Glass, Sony jumped on the smart eyewear bandwagon.
Its SmartEyeglass Developer Edition, a pair of augmented reality glasses, are available for pre-order in the UK and Germany for $840 (£540 or €670), starting Tuesday.
SmartEyeglass, which connects to host devices running Android 4.4 and above, uses a 419×138-pixel, monochrome green display projected onto the lenses. It includes a 3-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, speaker, microphone and a host of various sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, brightness sensor and an electronic compass.
In a promotional video, Sony shows how the glasses can be used to communicate, get directions and share photos. The concept, however, looks like a step back from Google Glass as it requires a pretty large, round, cabled accessory that serves as a microphone and a touchpad. As for the device’s looks, well, let’s just say that to our eyes they look slightly awkward even in the promotional stills and video.
SmartEyeglass is not an entirely new product: It was unveiled in Sept. 2014, and visually, little has changed. Back then, Sony argued that the cabled controller must be used to make the eyewear lighter while retaining good battery life, and, at mere 77-grams (without the controller), it seems that goal was achieved.
Still, the added controller — and don’t forget you also need a host Android device to run this thing — makes us wonder whether fitting the battery and the mic into the glasses would be a better option. Luckily, this being a developer edition or early stage product, we’ll likely see improvements down the road.
Sony also released an official SmartEyeglass SDK Tuesday, meaning developers can now create apps for the device.
SmartEyeglass is not the first smart eyewear project from Sony. In Dec. 2014, the company announced a clip-on device that transforms regular glasses into smart glasses.
The SmartEyeglass will become available in eight more countries in March: United States, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden.