Oakley seemed to have perfectly timed the release of its smart eyewear called Radar Pace. Oct. 3, its launch date, seems a lifetime away from the Google Glass era but just a few days after Snap Inc. unveiled its own Spectacles.
The Radar Pace, therefore, could distance itself from the stigma of the Google wearable and it could ride in the coattails of Spectacles if that device proved successful. At the very least, the Radar Pace should benefit from a resurgent public awareness about smart glasses.
To be clear, Oakley's smart eyewear has some unique features that could significantly distinguish it from other smart glasses that preceded it. It is mainly targeted toward athletes or those who have active or sporty lifestyle. There is a real-time voice activated coaching system on board that can create training programs, track performance and interact with the wearer to give inputs and feedback as well as answers to posed questions.
Radar Pace was developed in partnership with Intel. According to Oakley, it was incubated in its lab for several years. Intel's proprietary Real Speech technology powers the hands-free conversational interface. The device is outfitted with sensors and smart technology that one typically sees in fitness trackers and some smartwatches today. These enable the device to collect biometric and performance data, which then inform the creation and adjustment of training programs.
The eyewear connects to an app available to both Android and iOS.
The smart technology running the device could be as sophisticated as those being developed by Google or Apple for wearable devices. Real Speech, for instance, was designed to hold a more natural conversation with humans. Google has gone to great lengths to perfect this AI component. The reason is that it allows for easier AI acceptance and better interactive experience overall. To put this in context, one can imagine how thoroughly frustrating and annoying it would be to hear a robotic voice pointing out your training mistakes.
Aside from a virtual assistant coach to guide its wearer while training, the eyewear also has call and text messaging functionalities. A Bluetooth accessory can also allow the wearer to listen to music.
"Combining Oakley's performance-centric design aesthetic with Intel's experience-driven technology, Radar Pace delivers a truly innovative and personalized training mechanism for athletes of all skill levels," Oakley said in an official statement.
Again, Oakley underscores that Radar Pace is not only for athletes. It is also designed for regular folks, especially those who cannot afford to pay for their own personal trainers. It can also be handy during training periods where the wearer is alone, say, biking in the middle of nowhere. The device could hold a decent conversation, firing retorts to questions like "What's my power?" or "How's my pace?" It is not yet clear if it could assume some semblance of personality or whether it could learn to adapt to the wearer's activities and preferences.
The Radar Pace is now available on Oakley's website and is selling for $449.