Best Smart Glasses 2013
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A guide to the best smart glasses available in 2013 and planned for the future. Smart glasses provide a wearable display that allows you to use various applications which going about your life. Typical apps include navigation, taking photos, browsing the web, checking emails and SMS text messages and playing media.
Some smart glasses act as a remote for an Android phone, others have smart capability built into the wearable glasses and others combine the two approaches.
Yes we'll cover Google Glass, but that's not the only game in town. I'll be updating this page as more new smart glasses are releases and demonstrated.
Google's Project Glass has been the most high profile smart glasses effort. Google glasses have been a concept that google have been actively working on for some time.
Google Glass is designed to allow you take photos, read messages, navigate, provide information overlays based on your current location and lots more. It has most of the features of a smart phone built in to a small and light device.
There have been sightings of Google Glass prototypes in the wild. And it looks like 2013 will be the year when they take the next step. A Google Glass Explorer Edition developer kit was available for pre-order at Google I/O in 2012 and is expected to ship in the first part of 2013.
A version for the public is not expected before 2014.
Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses
The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses are a direct competitor to Google glasses and have been demonstrated. They are expected to be available in 2013, the Vuzix M100 product page states that they are 'coming soon' at time of writing.
The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses aren't actually smart or glasses! The M100 is a wearable heads up display (HUD) mounted on a headband which can actually be worn over regular glasses if you wear them.
It is a bit smart, but actually it gets most of its smarts by acting as a remote display for your Android smartphone. The glasses do actually run Android but initially the phone functionality concentrates on display processing. There is the potential for doing more on the glasses themselves eventually.
The M100 can be used to display apps running on your phone such as navigation, web browsing, email checking, media playing, etc.
How Do You Feel about Smart Glasses?
Ever since I first encountered the Web (in its very early days) I have imagined what it would be like to have access to all of that information immediately and at all times. I guess I was thinking of some kind of implant. But smart glasses are definitely a step in that direction.
I know some people loathe the idea and would consider it to be information overload. Some people like to limit their use of technology.
Do you love or loathe the idea of Smart Glasses?
Epson V11H423020 Moverio
The Epson V11H423020 Moverio BT-100 smart glasses were one of the first products to market that allow you to both view a HUD display and the world around you.
These glasses run a version of Android so they run a variety of apps.
The consensus seems to be that these are an interesting techy toy but are unlikely to change your life. These are clearly an early experimental product. But very interesting to early adopters.
Oakley Airwave Smart Ski Goggles
The Oakley Airwave Ski Googles are smart glasses which are already on the market. Oakley Airwave uses HUD technology from Recon Instruments. These smart goggles track your ski performance and stats and display them, have GPS functionality and they can also work with your Android or iOS phone to show text messages, caller ID and control your music.
Hopefully we'll also see Oakley smart sunglasses in the future.
What I Want from Smart Glasses
Note that there's a relationship with what I want from a Smart Watch. If I had both devices then I'd want them to play nicely together and integrate and not overlap.
But maybe Smart Glasses could take over all the features of a Smart Watch? They should certainly be able to tell me the time as well as all their clever features.
- Navigation. I have no sense of direction. Seriously, none. I get lost all the time. I have to plan every outing meticulously. (This is on foot, I really couldn't drive!) Having a map on my phone helps, but navigation on a heads up display would be wonderful.
- Phone capability / integration. By the time I manage to get my phone out of my bag it's usually stopped ringing! I'd like my smart glasses to be a phone headset and display text messages (and emails too.)
- Location-based reminders. I'd like to be able to set up reminders like when I'm next near a particular store I should go and check out a particular item. The number of times I've got home and realized I missed an opportunity. (Reminders and task list integration in general, actually.)
- Camera / video camera, but only if it's high quality. I'd like to be able to leave my camera at home and have one less device. A poor quality camera is pointless. Something like you find in high-end cell phones would be fine.
- Fitness gadget capability or integration. Tell me how many miles I've walked today. Encourage me to climb another set of stairs.
- Ability to act as a headset for other devices and stream audio (from Spotify or a similar service.) I lose headphones. I can never find a pair when I want them. Having them build into a device that I wear regularly would be brilliant.
An alternative to Smart Glasses is a smart watch. There are a few smart watches on the market with various capabilities:
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Best Smart Glasses 2013
What would you like from smart glasses? Do you think they'll become as common place as mobile phones?