Not long ago, the first stirrings of Google's “Project Glass” smart glasses emerged and received a lot of attention. But while Project Glass is still under development, competitors have already made their way to the product stage. One of these competitors is Vuzix, which brought its M100 wearable device to showcase at CES 2013.
Vuzix's M100 glasses
were first announced back in November, with an eye toward releasing for around $1,000. However, with the unveiling, the company backtracked a bit and said it’d be bringing them out for just $500 when the wider launch, slated for later this year, happens. Additionally, Vuzix also filled in the blanks on the product's specs, saying that the M100
will include a WQVGA color display and an OMAP processor to back it up. It also has four gigabytes of internal storage, a gigabyte of RAM, a 1080p camera and the whole thing will run the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, Android 4.0. The glasses connect to a smartphone by way of Bluetooth, and allow for a heads-up display that appears over one eye.
The specs sound reasonably sound, and the whole thing could wind up being a very interesting idea. It's likely going to be pretty galling for Google, however, as it ends up getting beaten to shelves by a much smaller provider using Google's own operating system to power the thing. It will also be interesting to see what kind of sales numbers Vuzix's device can generate; after all, this is pretty much the same thing that Google's looking to release not too far down the line, with some differences, of course. So Vuzix going out ahead might well serve as a great test subject for the market as a whole.
Will users flock to the Vuzix for its unusual form factor? What if they don't? Is that a sign that the market finds this to be a terrible idea overall, or is this a sign that the market is waiting to get their hands on Google's version first? Back in November, a patent application from Microsoft rose up suggesting that that may well be a possibility, so heads-up display glasses may just be bigger than expected. The idea is a bizarre one to say the least, and seeing how the market receives such a device—no matter who the maker is--will likely pose developments worth watching.
Only time will tell whether Vuzix's M100 proves to be a success and whether that success bodes well or ill for Google's own Project Glass, likely to be released later. Still, with two similar products in the market, it could mean a very interesting near-term future, especially if other glass-style products start making inroads into the market.