When it comes to smartphones these days, it seems like you just can’t have the complete smartphone experience unless you get other “smart” accessories to accompany it. So far it would seem that companies are really pushing the smartwatch as more and more manufacturers come out with their own, but another smart device is starting to get pushed as well, and that device would be smart glasses.
The first official pair of smart glasses to be released was, if you recall, Google Glass. You probably don’t hear a lot about Google Glass these days, probably because nobody talks about it anymore. Back in 2012, it seemed that Google Glass was all anybody could talk about. It seemed like a winner of a product at the time. Here you have this super futuristic looking gadget that could only come out of a movie, and you had this massively successful company behind the production. This same company that made a search engine, a web browser, a smartphone, and several other products and services wildly successful. Google Glass surely would be yet another home run for Google.
But something didn’t go according to plan. Google Glass seemed prestigious enough - perhaps a little too prestigious, even. With the device being sold for $1500, and only to people who were granted access into the program’s beta test access, it would seem like getting Google Glass was a bit of a far-off dream for a lot of people. There was also the fact that not a lot was even developed for the device at the time, and paying $1500 for something that didn’t do much was likely considered a rather frivolous purchase.
Even then, Google Glass was not exactly a wildly accepted concept to say the least. You couldn’t wear the device in movie theaters, while driving, or even in general public due to fear of secret recording or photo taking. Not only did the device not do much and cost a pretty penny, but you also couldn’t even really use it anywhere but your own home. As a result, Google Glass has gone under wraps again, and who knows if it will ever resurface for the general public.
If it doesn’t, though, it would seem like alternatives will be available soon: Sony will allegedly release their own smart glasses soon, called the SmartEyeGlass, and recent reports of apps surfacing in Google’s Play Store seems to support that notion.
It’s clearly too soon to tell, but if I had to guess I’d have to say I don’t think that’s going to happen.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see that Sony is already having applications developed for the device. On the other hand, the apps that have shown up are none other than Facebook and Twitter. They might be two of the most popular apps available, but they’re not exactly something I would want to purchase an entirely new device for. If I knew that the device would support something new, exciting, and really making the device worth purchasing then I might be a little more optimistic about it.
Speaking of optimism, it’s also hard to feel optimistic when you look at the design of Sony’s smart glasses. I’m no fashion expert, but Sony and I definitely differ in what we think makes an attractive pair of glasses, to say the least. In other words, this thing looks... pretty terrible. They’re big, they’re gaudy, and they make Google Glass look much better at this point. It was hard enough to get people into Google Glass because of its bizarre look, but I imagine SmartEyeGlass will be a much harder sell. Nobody will look at somebody wearing SmartEyeGlass in public and say, "Hey dude, where'd you get that?" It'd be more like, "Hey dude, why'd you get that?"
With smart glasses being so new, I also can’t imagine that SmartEyeGlass will be cheap. The only other competitor, which is no longer officially for sale, started off at $1500 (as previously mentioned). Although I imagine Sony will likely go for a lower cost for their smart glasses, I don’t think it will be that low. I really hope I’m wrong here, because there doesn’t seem to be much else going for SmartEyeGlass at the moment; however, I think you can sell anything if the price is low enough. People may be more interested in smart glasses in general if it didn’t cost an arm, a leg, and your first born child.
I don’t think that Sony will be able to do any better than Google did, unless they have something crazy awesome up their sleeve. Otherwise, the odds just seem really against the device having much more success than Glass; it’s ugly, it doesn’t seem to have much more potential, and it’s ugly.
I could be wrong, but we’ll see where we’re at in 2 years. That’s how long it took Google Glass to get tossed aside.