Now, that Google has drawn the start line for wearable computers and multifunctional glasses, soon every big tech manufacturer is going to create at least one version of the product. Soon enough we will be experiencing the world through computerized glasses (for a complete list of already announced Glass alternatives visit our Google Glass-like device roundup entry here). Given this precedent, a big number of companies have already begun preparing advertising material that could later appear on the screen of the Glass, as you are riding the bike, reading your email or messages, or simply surfing the Internet.
While making a report over the future evolution of the wearable computers and smart glasses, Shane Walker an analyst at IHS, the statistic firm, stated that Google will have competition on the smart glasses market, but that most of the manufacturers might be tempted to create their devices on niches and aim towards a single usage domain per product.
A device of this sort is the smart sunglasses designed by Recon Instruments for triathlons or outdoors activities that need special equipment and are dangerous for the fragile Glass. Jet is the name given to Recon’s smart sunglasses and in case the user gets lost on a route, the device will display helping directions as well as some physical data and heart rate.
Meta has created the SpaceGlasses double-decker which works with two projectors, while the Glass only has one. Thanks to these two projectors it’s easy for the device to render 3D images of objects, such as a hologram keyboard right in front of your eyes.
You can actually interact with the holograms, thanks to a hand tracking sensor. And, of course it is highly expected for all the following smart glasses to have some of the features existent in the Glass now, such as taking instant photos and writing texts.
Of course, critics have appeared almost instantly and for now, the most vehement argument brought against the Glass is that this kind of device can easily increase the time you are spending online, and everybody knows, the whole world is filled with technological distractions.
The author of the book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, Clive Thompson said that the Glass is definitely not a desirable accessory for a party.
However, besides these basic features, the future smart glasses generations will most certainly include more abnormal features such as apps that can display some information that aren’t easy to acquire otherwise (heart beat, mileage, and so on).
For instance, a mechanic wouldn’t have to dig into the whole car system to get the information he needs, but instead he could ask the Glass to retrieve data about the specific part that has to be checked or fixed.
Clive Thompson mentions in his report that he can’t wait to receive this sort of help since one of his hobbies is fixing old computers. This is a system that he actually looks forward to use, as it can display almost instantly the information he would have to search for at least 30 minutes before getting to work.
The first batch of smart glasses have apparently been sold already to developers that build new software to improve them, or at least this what another analyst from IHS told us.
Walker also mentions that about 60,000 smartglasses units will be released by the end of 2013, and that Google expects a revenue of $US35 million from the first 10,000 pairs of Google Glasses sold.
But for 2014, the predictions estimate that sales in this area will grow. Walker points out the fact that the first Glass owners have paid around $1,500 a pair, but if Google wants to make the Glass a mass market device, the price should go down at least at the cost of a premium smartphone or tablet.
Walker, the IHS analyst believes that consumers will split in two main sections, more precisely those interested in sports apps and those interested in health apps. The wearable computers will become a part of people’s everyday training and activities, as they will be able to provide support for them.
Recon’s Jet Glasses will be officially released on the market in February 2014 and will cost around $US600. The device will sport a HD camera, Wi-Fi sensors able to collect data from a training session and display it, and will be powered by a microcomputer of one GH.
As for Meta’s SpaceGlasses, we can tell you that they are considered to be the most impressive eyewear so far. Even though they look quite rough and need to be connected via cable to a computer in order to work, Meta has already sold to developers a lot of them: almost $US800,000 revenue obtained from over 1200 developers. Meron Gribetz, the founder of Meta says that starting with April 2014 they will deliver an improved version of the SpaceGlasses.
Another similar device developed by Vuzix, the M100 glasses are going to come out in November at the price of $US999. These glasses can establish with the smartphone a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.
Clive Thompson also wrote an article for the Times Magazine, pointing out that if these glasses become the new thing, then maybe we should all learn new social interaction rules considering that now people won’t be distracted just by their smartphones, but by their smartglasses as well. After all, it’s rude to watch something on a display while someone else is talking to you