The latest pair of smart glasses – we probably won’t buy

Reality just isn’t exciting anymore. That might explain the surge in virtual and augmented reality (AR) devices that are about to storm the market.

It was only a few weeks ago that Google announced it was pulling the plug on Google Glass and closed its early tester ‘Explorer’ program to give engineers time to rethink the product. This has allowed other competitors to speedily move their products into the market which is now starting to look a little crowded.

Last week Japanese tech giant Sony announced that it’s now developing an android-compatible pair of wearable eyeglasses named ‘Smart Eye Glass’, as well as Microsoft who also revealed the ‘Holo Lens’ which is expected for release some time in the third quarter. So what has Sony got up its sleeve that Google didn’t you may you ask? The answer may well be, not a lot.

Whilst the commercial release of Smart Eye Glass is scheduled for 2016 in the UK at £520.00, a considerably lower price tag than Google Glass, perhaps the biggest challenge Sony faces with the device is that it doesn’t actually bring anything new to the table.

At the moment it only works with android phones, cutting out iOS devices which is one of the more profitable sectors of the mobile market, and while the current model is only for developers it’s still quite clunky, making Google Glass look positively stylish in comparison.

Like Glass, it can only project low-resolution imagery and text in front of your eyes in monochrome green, but not for very long. Whilst it may have been designed not to be worn all the time and only to boost certain activities, according to its specification the battery only lasts for around two and a half hours (that’s without using the 3 -mega pixel camera) so what’s the point?

Without any significant improvements then, it looks like Sony’s smart glasses may face the same stumbling blocks as Google. Whilst Sony may have had the benefit of seeing what didn’t work with Google Glass, this doesn’t seem to have been enough to iron out some of the major issues which crippled Google’s product.

Industry analyst Ezra Gottheil with Technology Business Research doubts that any new competition will come off better than Google. “There’s no reason to think that Sony and Microsoft will have any more success with a generalised glasses product than Google did, no matter how pretty, cheap, and high performing”.

So in terms of having a device which successfully functions within the day to day running of a business – such as a warehouse environment, it doesn’t look like we’re much closer to getting a product that can fulfil the requirements needed and add value to the supply chain. However, the device is still in the very early stages of conception so it can be forgiven for not quite living up to expectations at this junction.

25th February 2015