Rumour round-up: Google Glass and competition

We have been hearing about Google’s ambitious Project Glass for a couple of years now, but it was last year in May that Google co-founder Sergey Brin hinted at the project turning into reality. In fact, he had even carried the prototype of the device to “The Gavin Newsom” talk show and also allowed the host to try the Glass. Now, after a series of promo videos, promotional competitions and a string of rumours, the Google Glass is out for developers and expected to reach consumers by the end of this year.

Google has finally revealed the technical specifications of the Glass, which include a 5MP camera, a day of battery life, bone conduction audio and 16GB on-board memory (12GB is usable). Priced at $1,500 (Rs 81,000 approx), the device will sync with Google cloud storage (could be Google Drive), ensuring that users get ample of storage space. The Glass display offers a viewing experience of a 25-inch HD screen from eight feet away, and one will find Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the connectivity front. It will be compatible with any Bluetooth-capable smartphone. Click here to know what all you can expect from Google Glass.


First batch of Google Glass ready to ship


Wearable device category has suddenly witnessed a boom, with giants like Google and Apple entering this space. Technologies around highly-portable and wearable computer systems and easy access to smartphone without the need to pull it out of your pockets seem to be gaining traction. While all eyes are set on the Google Glass, rumours of some nifty rivals to the novel product in the making have already started surfacing. Let’s take a look at them.

Microsoft Wearable Multitouch Projector
After its late entry into the mobile segment, Microsoft has probably pulled up its socks  and doesn’t want to stay behind the curve. Rumour has it that the software giant is planning to launch a product to compete with the Google Glass as well as Apple's iWatch, by next year. This wearable Microsoft device could possibly be a part of the Kinect revamp (also a part of the next Xbox). By bringing in this wearable product, the company will not only give the next-generation Xbox 720 a serious edge, but also get ready for the wearable tech market that Apple and Google seem so enthusiastic about.

Though we haven’t heard of any cool or snazzy name for the Microsoft device, it is believed to be a camera and projector combination similar to Google's cyborg-like Glass and apparently dubbed Wearable Multitouch Projector. There are rumours that the key aspect that differentiates Microsft’s eyewear from the Google Glass is the orientation of the display. Google Glass has the display facing towards the eyes, whereas Microsoft is aiming at a display projecting outwards.


Microsoft is toying with the idea of letting you access everything on your smartphone using this wearable device – without the need to reach for your mobile device. The demo device is said to be shoddy and not representable yet. However, the company believes that the camera-projector combo could be miniaturised further in the next couple of years.

Sony opts for dual lens
A recent patent application revealed that Sony is all geared up to explore the wearable tech space with its Google Glass rival. Apparently, the patent was filed last year in November and by picking some cues from the Google Glass, the product is now nearing to be a practical model. It is described as "a head-mounted display apparatus which includes an image display device, a wearing device with which the image display device is worn on a head of an observer, and an attachment member used to attach image display device to the wearing device."


Sony has filed for its eyewear patent


The main highlight of the Sony device that significantly sets it apart from the Google Glass is its two-lens capability, which essentially means you can view information with both eyes as compared to Google’s device where only one eye can view information. If you look at the prototype, you can see ear buds mounted on the arms too. Moreover, the lenses are movable as well as adjustable so that the user can get the most comfortable fit.

Telepathy One – A unique design
Another potent Google Glass competitor is the Telepathy One, a joint effort from Japanese companies. The wearable device is a different take on the Google Glass. It has a unique design that lacks a physical display or side-mounted controls but emits a 5-inch virtual screen for anytime use. It uses a micro-projection unit that can be controlled using your connected smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. For audio needs, it relies on in-ear speakers. There is not much information on the specs of the Telepathy One or when can we expect it to hit markets. However, it is believed to be cheaper than the other competitors. It aims at making social communication fast and as easy as listening to music with your portable devices. The minimalistic design will enable users to carry it everywhere without any hassle.


Telepathy One with a unique design (Image Credit: YankoDesign)



Uncertain Baidu Eye
Chinese makers never cease to surprise us with their look-alikes or cheaper clones of popular devices, and this is the reason why everyone fell for Baidu’s Google Glass competitor prank. Nevertheless, the company spokesperson Kaiser Kuo revealed that they are working on a small internal project of a Glass-like device that will be based on an ocular interface and built with LED, but added that they aren’t sure if the device will even make it to the market. While Baidu is still uncertain about the tech-imbued eyewear, Sina English gave us a hint that Baidu has developed a prototype for a wearable Internet tech just like Google Glass. The report went on to add that according to some insiders (whom did not name), the prototype device that was being tested is called Baidu Eye. It added that Baidu Eye has features similar to Google's Glass – LCD display, voice-controlled image recognition and bone-sensing, to name a few. It would allow a user to control the functions of the device – for instance, making calls and searching the web – using his voice. It would also detect a user's gestures to capture and send photos.

What were once just wide-eyed concepts are now turning to be practical wearable devices. And devices such as Google Glass or iWatch are opening the door for a new product category – “Wearable tech device".

Published Date: Apr 17, 2013 07:50 pm | Updated Date: Apr 17, 2013 07:50 pm