Wearable Tech World Feature Article
March 10, 2014

Sony's SmartEyeglass Prototype Has Potential

Sony has really managed to slim down its operations over the last few years, following a pretty rough financial turnout for the 2011 fiscal year. A big part of this has been to refocus on its mobile and gaming divisions while cooling it on less profitable areas like HDTVs. That was the plan in 2012, but plans change.

In particular, Sony seems to be evolving with the times. When it first announced its refocusing efforts in early 2012, smartphones and tablets were clearly worth pursuing — they still are, of course — while televisions were clearly worth dropping. In 2014, it’s now clear that PCs are less worthwhile for Sony, and so it has sold off its PC business. On the flipside, the company has gotten more serious about wearables.

Enter the Sony SmartEyeglass. Sony demonstrated the device last week at the Wearables DevCon as a way to both challenge Google Glass and expand its own line of wearable devices, which is largely made up of wrist devices like the SmartWatch 2.

Click to enlarge, image via International Digital Times

Obviously, the SmartEyeglass is a pair of glasses that, like Google Glass, can display information directly to the user’s eyes. However, unlike Glass, Sony’s prototype more closely resembles a regular pair of glasses. In exchange, the SmartEyeglass can only show information in green over a pair of see-through lenses unlike Glass’ full-color prism display.

Additionally, Sony’s glasses have a sort of long-distance display mode that makes text look further away. This is meant to make it more comfortable and natural to read. They also sport all of the types of sensors that have become standard in smartphones — including an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass — as well as an embedded camera and microphone.

As such, the SmartEyeglass seems like it could be a viable contender to Google Glass in its final state. In its current prototype state, though, it is operated with a separate, wired controller and relies somewhat on a companion smartphone for much of its functionality. Here’s hoping Sony can iron out the kinks and get its smart glasses out the door relatively quickly.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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