It's a little over a month now since Google halted sales of Google Glass, its Internet-connected “smart eyeglasses,” but the Sony Corporation is hoping to succeed where Google previously stumbled.
Yesterday, Sony started accepting pre-orders in the U.K. and Germany for its “SmartEyeglass Developer Edition,” and said on its website that it would start selling the glasses in the U.S. and Japan on March 10.
SmartEyeglasses will sell for $840 in the U.S., £520 in the U.K., ¥100,000 in Japan and €670 everywhere else. They're designed to connect to compatible smartphones and superimpose information into the wearer's line of sight without obstructing the wearer's vision (according to Sony).
Sony's specs suggest that the glasses' bulky power source won't be too impressive: the battery will only hold up to 150 minutes' worth of charge without using the camera and 80 minutes' worth of charge with it, and “[e]ven when not using the camera, battery life will decrease when using wireless LAN connection.” Also, the glasses won't work in cold weather or in too much heat, either; the operating temperature range is only 5 to 35 degrees Celsius (41 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit).
Nor will the SmartEyeglasses impress anyone on a sartorial level. Re/code's reviewers said that “Sony's $840 smart glasses are too dorky to be believed,” Gizmodo dubbed them “even dorkier than Google Glass,” and the first paragraph of Extreme Tech's review mentioned “these hilariously bulky glasses” and wondered if anyone would “go out in public with these ridiculous goggles on.”
The glasses themselves are much wider and have much thicker frames than any style of ordinary eyeglasses, and there is also a circular controller housing the battery, microphone, speaker and other hardware; this controller can be clipped onto the wearer's clothing, possibly on the theory that if you're already wearing those dorky glasses it really doesn't matter if you've got a bulky plastic clip-on thing ruining the line of your clothes, too.
Sony hopes to have the glasses available for full consumer release sometime next year.