When Google Glass was announced back in 2012, it was hailed as a game changer and ridiculed as a creepy gadget in equal measure. It never quite caught on with the mainstream consumer base the way Google’s Android phones have, but that debacle hasn’t stopped other companies from trying to make a success out of facially wearable computing devices. Case in point – the Recon Jet. The device is made by Recon Instruments, a Canadian company started in 2008 as a business school project at the University of British Columbia. When the first prototype was publicly shown off at Google’s I/O developer conference in 2013, it mostly garnered a favorable response. Since then however, the launch was delayed multiple times and the people who pre-ordered one back in 2013, are yet to receive their shipment. Recon’s CEO and co-founder Dan Eisenhardt however remains unapologetic, and is convinced that everyone who uses the product will agree that it’s been well worth the wait.
The Recon Jet, much like the Google Glass, is a type of physically wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD), but the way Recon differentiates their product with the one from Google, is that unlike the Mountain View, CA-based company, Recon’s deliberately focused on making the Jet strictly a sports and outdoor activities oriented product rather than something to be worn all day, although, that singular focus might change in the future, according to Mr. Eisenhardt. The Jet can take photos, shoot videos in 720p HD, use maps and navigation and track your speed and altitude. The best part is that it does all of that without any compulsion to pair it to your phone. You may however, if you so desire, pair it to your phone via Bluetooth for access to social media notifications and messages, taking calls and controlling music. Software Interaction takes place via an optical touch-pad not unlike the Google Glass.
The device is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and comes with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD slot and a host of sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor and infrared sensor. It is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, ANT+ and WiFi and runs on Android derived ReconOS 4.1. Recon says that they’ve taken pains to ensure that the platform is ripe for developers to jump in. As for the rest of the hardware, the battery according to Recon, will only last for up to four hours per charge, although it is removable and can be swapped out as and when required. The display, that sits to the bottom right of your field of vision, is a Widescreen 16:9 WQVGA display that includes navigation and phone widgets along with all of the fitness stats.
The Jet will be available in the US through specialty outdoor stores and through online retailer Amazon for $699. As for the rest of the world, Recon says they’ll make it available exclusively through their website for now.