From today, provided you live in the UK or Germany, you can pre-order Sony’s SmartEyeGlass smart specs. We’ve been hearing about the company’s smart eyewear plans for several months, and saw concepts running basic demonstrations at CES 2015, but this is the first time anyone has had the opportunity to buy a pair. The question is, will you want to wear them?
The looks, like the majority of smartglasses, are challenging. They’re less Google Glass and more 3D specs that come with a 3D TV. However, we don’t think they’re really supposed to be worn all the time, and are designed to augment certain activities or tasks, instead of being an all-day “wearable computer,” like Glass. Why do we say this? Because according to the specification, the battery lasts for just over an hour when using the 3-megapixel camera, or around two-and-a-half hours without the camera.
Both lenses create an augmented reality-style view, so there’s no separate eyepiece attached to the frame. The 419 x 138 pixel, monochrome display is part of the lens setup, so it’s probably not suitable for anyone who needs spectacles to actually see what they’re doing. There is a separate controller that’s linked by a cable to the glasses. It’s used to control the on-screen display, and can be used for voice controls, and to answer calls. It connects to a smartphone using NFC, and at the moment the SmartEyeGlass is compatible with Android 4.4 and later.
Designed primarily for developers at this stage, Sony has released a software development kit for the SmartEyeGlass, but will also publish a few key apps inside the Google Play store for people to try out. These include apps for Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail, plus a calendar and RSS feed app. While the promo video gives an idea of how the SmartEyeGlass will operate for regular people – GPS instructions, instant messaging, and photo sharing – Sony also sees the device being used in industrial and Enterprise environments, where keeping both hands free while working is a big bonus. Google has a similar vision (sorry) for Google Glass.
Right now, the SmartEyeGlass Developer Edition SED-E1, to give it its full title, can be pre-ordered for £520 in the UK, or 670 euros in Germany. In March, Sony will introduced the SmartEyeGlass in the U.S. for $840. At the same time, it’ll release the device in Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, and Sweden.