Sony Unleashes Its Google Glass Beater

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Developer edition of SmartEyeglass opens for pre-order today, costing $840 (£520)

Sony hopes to fill the void left by Google Glass, with its own smart wearable device due to be released in a few weeks.

The company has said the first version of its Sony SmartEyeglass device, tailored specifically for developers, will go on sale on March 10 in the US, the UK, Germany and Japan for $840, £520, €670 or 100,000 yen respectively, with pre-orders opening in the US and UK today.

Featuring a thicker 77g build than Google’s offering, the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition (SED-E1) comes with sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, brightness sensor and electronic compass, alongside a 3MP CMOS image sensor, capable of 3MP stills and QVGA video at 15 frames per second.

smarteyeglass sonyHigh Spec

Sony’s product, which will need to be paired with a smartphone running Android 4.4 or above, differs from Google Glass in that it projects overlays of information onto the full-frame transparent lenses. These have 85 percent transparency, giving the user an experience not too far detached from the Terminator, albeit in green monochrome, allowing you to still see the world around you clearly.

Alongside the launch, Sony also announced an updated version of its Software Development Kit (SDK) which it says will allow developers to create richer and more detailed apps for the Eyeglass than ever before.

The upgraded kit looks to “tap into the ingenuity of developers to improve upon the user experience that the SmartEyeglass provides” ahead of a wider commercial release of the device in 2016.

The announcement may be a prescient move by Sony, following Google’s decision to pull its Glass device from general sale last month. Originally costing around £1000, the wearable was the subject of several high-profile incidents involving the law and public harassment, but did enjoy adoption across a range of verticals.

Google has said the technology behind Glass will live on in a future consumer product, but what exactly this is remains to be seen.

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