Glasses certainly do seem to be making an impression in 2014 and with Google leading the way it was only a matter of time before the other big tech names wanted a piece of the action. It was recently reported that HTC seem to be working on their version of Glass, aptly named ‘HTC Glass‘. In contrast to Google’s voice activation system, HTC Glass will instead rely on brain activation with the wearer’s thoughts controlling the device. Futuristic huh! Well, it seems HTC are not the only ones chasing Google as it now seems Toshiba are throwing their hat…or their glasses into the ring. Yep, Toshiba are the latest tech company to offer smart glasses and guess what – they are also named quite similar to the alternatives with the well-thought out ‘Toshiba Glass’ tag. In fairness to Toshiba (and in contrast to HTC), Toshiba do seem to be a lot further down the road with their Glass. Toshiba’s Glass is due to be showcased tomorrow in Japan at the annual Ceatec trade show. As the event is due to begin tomorrow and typical of these events today was the opportunity for the press to get a sneak peak and first glimpse of Toshiba’s Glass.
So what do Toshiba have to offer? Well, it is a pair of glasses and it kind of does what Google’s Glass does except on first impressions not as well. The main difference with Toshiba’s Glass is that it does not contain the typical Google prism – the small additional window attached which does provide the user experience. Instead on Toshiba’s version there is a small panel attached to one of the frames which transmits the picture on to the lens, basically as a reflection of the projector. Another difference with Toshiba’s Glass is that it is not self-powered and instead has to be locally connected (via a cable) to the users smartphone. With both the lack of the glasses independence and the limited ability to project information and images Toshiba’s offering is unlikely to offer anywhere near the experience provided by Google. However, that said it is far more likely that Toshiba’s version will be more price-relevant to the general public. Toshiba may be playing a smart game here by making sure they offer albeit a limited-function alternative, but at a much cheaper price. This won’t adopt the same cultural significance that Google’s Glass seems to have, but it is likely to be a viable tool for instructional purposes i.e. schools, technicians and the like.
According to the very early reports Toshiba hopes to start shipping their Glass sometime in 2015 in both Japan and North America. The only other details we have at the moment is that the frames are expected to be launched in three varieties – standard, sporty and industrial. Although the details are limited with Ceatec starting tomorrow it is likely we will hear much more soon enough. For now, how do you like the idea of a Toshiba (cheaper) alternative to Google’s Glass?