Look, we all know that wearables is finally a hot topic, and in no small part due to Google Glass efforts. While nobody else dared challenge the Glass at first – fitness bands and smartwatches are flooding the market…again, in no small effort due to Google’s Android Wear that is spanning across multiple ‘watchmakers.’ Pebbles was the first big success in the smartwatch field, but even Pebble does not enjoy the success of the larger manufacturers like Samsung and LG – and soon to be adding to that list, Motorola. Their devices are more colorful and offer greater functionality – some even allow you to answer or make a phone call without ever taking your smartphone from your pocket. All of this built upon the foundation and excitement started by Google Glass.
With all of their success, there has been a lot of negative press surrounding Google Glass – so much so they are already banned in many places before they are even on sale to the general public. Google is still conducting extensive studies and testing in a large control group that were all willing to pay $1,500 in order to participate while App Developers keep finding new ways to utilize Glass’ unique capabilities. Software upgrades are done monthly and they just keep getting better and more useful – but the BIG question remains…will there be a demand for them or will they be shunned?
An article we did the other day, likened them to a BlackBerry device – business enterprises grabbed them up, and eventually they trickled down to the general public as a real status symbol or must have item. In the business field, ‘different’ was described as “badass” and a “badge of honor.” Once employees started using Google Glass, it would filter down to the public.
While Google Glass has made it on the cover of “Wired” magazine, they are far from the only ‘Glasses’ out there – up to 16 kinds of smart glasses are out there and many even include SDKs for App Developers. Epson is working on its Moverio BT-200 Developer Program and even developing a Moverio Apps Market. Eric Mizufuka, product manager for Epson Moverio, told our source that they will include free tools and third-party SDKs from other organizations that are focused on augmented reality – such as Wikitude and Metaio. Even though Moverio is little known to Developers, Mizufuka said that Google’s efforts with Glass are helping other lesser-known companies like themselves. He added:
“We think it’s [Google Glass] an awesome product, and what they’ve done in terms of view ability for the category is incredible. On the other hand, Epson sees Moverio as a notch above Google Glass because it’s designed for 3D effects and the overlay of images. These kinds of differences will have a huge impact on how developers conceive and create wearable computing experiences.”
Alternatives to standard “Glass” might also help its public acceptance – Vuzix is hoping to be one of those alternatives, whose smart glasses will include the Wrap 1200DX and emphasize 2D and 3D video display capabilities. They already have customers in the medical and construction industry, but they hope that consumers will be willing to adopt them as well. Many have warned about counting Google out of the mix so quickly, as they have – mature voice recognition, notifications and the entire Google ecosystem backing them.
Besides, our source points out that it was more of an ‘unnatural’ thing to first carry around a smartphone than it is to wear glasses – something many of us have been doing for a long time. Smart glasses – Google, Epson, Vuzix and others – will become like tool that we use, much like safety glasses or a dust mask…simply tools of the trade.