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Rivals already eying Google eyewear; competitors now in development

  • Google glasses 01

    Apr. 4, 2012: Google is testing out its new Android-powered augmented-reality glasses. (Google)

  • Google glasses 02

    Apr. 4, 2012: A model sports Google's augmented reality, "smartphone glasses." (Google)

  • Google glasses 04

    Apr. 4, 2012: Google's Android-powered, augmented-reality glasses would show maps, video chats, photographs, and even allow the user to shop online -- all at the blink of an eye. (Google)

  • Google Goggles Sergey Brin Scoble.jpg

    Apr. 5, 2012: Tech analyst Robert Scoble (l) and Google co-founder Sergey Brin (r) attend a charity event in San Francisco, where Brin sported an early prototype of the company's futuristic, augmented reality glasses. (Thomas Hawk)

  • Google glasses 03

    Apr. 4, 2012: A series of images posted by the search engine giant show models wearing prototypes of the new augmented reality glasses from "Project Glass." (Google)

Google unveiled “Project Glass” earlier this week, an undertaking that it hopes will bring eyewear equipped with heads-up displays to the masses -- and the competition has already taken note.

The glasses currently in development include an integrated transparent display that projects images and data in the wearer’s field of vision. HUD technology such as this could allow users to pair Google’s glasses with a smartphone and view data while the handset remains tucked away, or they could operate as a standalone product with an integrated chipset and embedded flash memory.

'Our meetings today indicate that Google glasses (a.k.a., Project Glass) already have competitors.'

- Brian White, technology analyst

The project has stirred up a healthy amount of intrigue within the media and among consumers, and Google’s competition has apparently taken note.

Though Project Glass was revealed just this week, rival companies already have similar products in development according to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White.

White is currently meeting with supply chain companies in China and Taiwan, and he shared several insights from meetings in Taipei in a note to investors Thursday night. White observed an overall optimistic tone during his first day of meetings as companies prepare for a seasonal ramp-up in production. This is sharp contrast to the tone White observed in similar meetings late last year.

The analyst saw cautious optimism for the ultrabook market and LCD trends that are seemingly stabilizing. As an interesting side note, however, he also stated that multiple companies are already working on responses to Google’s just-announced smart glasses.


GOOGLE GOGGLES: Google's "augmented reality" glasses stream information from the Internet to the wearer's eyes in real time.

Information is displayed on a thin device, presumably a small computer, and translucent screen just above and to the right of the right eye.

Glasses appear to be controlled by movements of the viewer's eyes or head.

“Our meetings today indicate that Google glasses (a.k.a., Project Glass) already has competitors working on similar initiatives to improve consumer’s mobility around Internet access,” White wrote. “We expect to be hear more about projects such as this and others in the coming years. This could drive a new wave of innovation across the mobility space.”

White did not elaborate on what distinguishing features these rival devices might include, and he did not indicate which Google competitors might currently be working on HUD glasses to rival Google’s Project Glass.

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