Even as Google removes its Glass wearable from sale, Sony has announced that it is opening pre-orders for its equivalent product: the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition.
Where Google's Project Glass attempted to appeal with minimalist chic, placing a clever display up and to the side of the wearer's centre of vision, Sony's SED-E1 is rather more in - or on - your face. The wearable takes the form of a full set of glasses, based around holographic waveguide lenses offering 85 per cent transparency while still acting as displays. Despite measuring just 3mm thick, Sony claims these smart lenses are able to bring up the user's required information without obstructing vision. The image isn't exactly high-definition, however: the system offers a 419x138 resolution image in shades of green, although it is binocular - meaning depth effects are possible.
Sony's SmartEyeglass is designed to be paired with smartphones running Android 4.4 or above. As a result, the device has little in the way of native intelligence but includes Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g network connectivity and integrated accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, brightness sensor, microphone, noise-suppressing sub-microphone and a three megapixel camera capable of streaming low-resolution QVGA video over a JPEG stream without audio. Using this feature, however, rapidly saps the device's battery: Sony claims that the initial model of SmartEyeglass can run for just 150 minutes with Wi-Fi disabled, dropping to 80 minutes if the camera is in use.
Interestingly, Sony has opted to solve the problem of how you interact with the device by bundling a hand-held controller which connects to the glasses through a wired cable. This controller includes the microphone, battery, speaker and an integrated touch-sensor for navigating the device's menus.
Sony has opted to release the device early as a Developer Edition, hoping that eager users will pick up a pair and start developing their own Android applications to make use of the SmartEyeglass technology. Orders have opened today with the warning that the device 'should not be used by children
' and that 'the product is not wearable over normal prescription glasses
,' priced at £620 with delivery expected in mid-March.
More information on the SED-E1 is available on Sony's official website