Popularity of smartphones took off at the speed of light. Popularity of smartwatches is currently growing, and has already become somewhat of a “normal” accessory for manufacturers to release. Smart glasses, on the other hand, has had a much more difficult time taking off than the other two smart products. It’s not that smart glasses are a bad product, or have no reason to exist; it’s more like the world just isn’t ready to adapt to their concept yet.
Google Glass was formally introduced to us about a little over a year and a half ago with the Glass Explorers program. For $1500, you could own your own pair of Google Glass and be one of the first to test these new and exciting waters within the mobile tech industry.
As exciting as the prospect of Google Glass once was, though, today tells a different tale. A mere 20 months later, plans for Google Glass’s future are mum at best. User experience of the product thus far has ranged anywhere from great to actually being discriminated against for wearing it in public, which pretty much defeats the purpose of using Glass at all. To be fair, though, although the user most likely doesn’t have any ill intentions on how they use the accessory, many have admitted to feeling uncomfortable standing in front of a Google Glass user regardless - even if there is no sign of the red light indicator, which lets people know when the device is actually recording anything.
Google Glass got a lot of hype, but at this point I think it’s largely considered a flop. Still, there are apparently companies out there who want to keep the smart glasses dream alive: Sony has recently announced that they will unveil a Google Glass competitor during CES 2015. The device is currently known as the “Single-Lens Display Module”.
Aside from its catchy name, I’m not quite sure what to make of the news. On the one hand, I strongly feel that one day, someday, smart glasses could become a common and acceptable accessory. On the other hand, I don’t think that time is right now, and I’m double unsure of whether Sony is the company that can bring out the best in smart glasses. After all, the company is just now starting to get in the good graces of smartphone users once again with the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact - is it really a good time to distract away from their smartphones in order to focus on smart glasses of all products?
I could see where Sony sees an opportunity. With Google Glass dipping under the radar, the smart glasses market is rather vacant. If smart glasses really stood a chance right now, I would agree that this might be a smart move. However, I think I can only describe the move as “bold”, because I think the biggest problem standing in anybody’s way right now is the fact that people just aren’t ready to accept smart glasses as a “safe”, or even “useful”, accessory. You have reports of people being interrogated by authorities for wearing Google Glass, kicked out of movie theaters for wearing Google Glass during a movie, and even people being pulled over for wearing Google Glass (even if it’s turned off) while driving. A smart accessory is supposed to make life easier for us, but when we hear these reports in the media, the thought of dropping any amount of money on a product that could very well lead to legal issues doesn’t sound all that appealing.
And whether Google, Sony, Apple, LG, or your own dog made the product won’t matter; the fact of the matter is that somebody wearing a pair of glasses with a camera attached to it somewhere is not something people are currently comfortable with.
I’ll still be keeping my eye out for Sony’s Single-Lens Display Module during CES to see what it’s really about and if it could really make a difference, but I have a strong feeling that this will be one of the few times I ever hear about this product.