Massimo Vian, CEO of the Italian eyewear colossus Luxottica, announced that soon there will be a new version of Google Glass.
In January, Google stopped the sales of the first version of the Glass eyewear, released in 2013 to users who applied to test the internet-connected device; the reason for this sudden change of mind was explained by Google Glass chief Ivy Ross, who revealed that a new version of the eyewear device would be cheaper and have longer battery life, improved sound quality and a better display, adding that they are working on pairing the device with a wide range of familiar types of eyewear.
This made a lot of users think that the big G was shutting down the Google Glass project, but we already could sense something was moving, since during March 2014, Luxottica’s CEO announced that they were starting a partnership with them.
Massimo Vian told shareholders: “In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]. What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation.”
This clearly means that, even if he didn’t give a certain time for the release, the second version of Google Glass is on its way. In fact, a press release from Luxottica explained that “the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology.” Moreover, two of the most famous Luxottica’s brands, Oakley and Ray-Ban, were mentioned to be part of the project.
It seems that Google will not be the only partnership that will take Luxottica in the world of advanced technology and glasses: they made another announcement saying they are collaboranting with Intel on different wearable eyewear products; we’ll see hopefully the first results in February or March of next year.
At CES 2015, Sony presented two interesting new entries in the Augmented Reality wearable devices market: Sony SmartEyeglass and SmartEyeglass Attach.
SmartEyeglass is Sony’s answer to Google Glass: a pair of glasses as in the case of the Cupertino company, but with some significant differences. The first difference is clear: while Google Glass are not catching the eye at first gaze, Sony SmartEyeglass have thick frames resembling ski goggles; consequently, they are not particularly discreet. In addition, SmartEyeglass have to be worn with a disk pinned to clothes: this is the battery and the remote for the glasses, so the user doesn’t have to vocally communicate with the Android system. This is a pro because the user will not have to say in public what he is going to do, but also creates a privacy issue: the people interacting with him will never be sure if they are being captured on screen. Last but not least, there’s a big difference in the display: while Google Glass have a delimited view on a side of a lens, SmartEyeglass have a display integrated in the lens and monochromatic, with layered vivid green written information. Even in this case there are pros and cons: the focus of the layered elements on Sony’s product will be easier, but the view will be mostly occupied with data. To make an idea of how this device works, watch the presentation video:
Another product presented by the japanese company, maybe even more interesting, is Sony SmartEyeglass Attach: it’s a little device that can be attached at the side of our glasses and sunglasses to turn them into head-mounted displays. As for Google Glass, SmartEyeglass Attach creates in front of one of your eyes a discreet display that can be easily ignored until required. The battery in this case is inside the little device, so it doesn’t have to be pinned to clothes as we seen for SmartEyeglass. At CES, the SmartEyeglass Attach was already on the Sony glasses, so it was not possible to try it and be sure of the ease of the attachment on the glasses, but the device seems to be very light and easy to use.
While Sony SmartEyeglass Attach doesn’t have a release date yet, the Developer Edition of Sony’s SmartEyeglasses first seen at CES 2015 are now available to pre-order from Sony for £540 plus VAT (circa 670 euro).