Sony has announced a developer version of its new smart glasses, called SmartEyeglass.
The glasses, of course, are being compared to Google Glass because of the fact that Google Glass and SmartEyeglass are really the only augmented reality headsets on the market that are being mass produced apart from Microsoft's HoloLens, which has yet to be released. But which headset is better?
It's important to first note that Google recently ended the Google Glass program in order to refocus its efforts on revamping the product, which will eventually be released to consumers.
As with any wearable product, design is an important factor. Anything that is worn on the body is a fashion statement, and that will play into whether consumers actually want to buy the product. Unfortunately, both Google and Sony have sorely missed the mark when it comes to fashion.
Sony's new AR offering essentially looks like a bulky set of 3D glasses that one would wear in the cinema. In fact, 3D glasses could potentially pass as sunglasses, however the extra bulk and weight that Sony puts on the headset makes it look like it would be tiring to wear. The glasses are also connected to a small puck-like device, which adds an extra thing to carry and take care of. It's important to remember that this is currently a developer device, so it is hoped that Sony will rethink the design for a consumer version.
The design of Google Glass is better. It's far less intrusive than Sony's offering, plus the tech is right there in the headset. It still looks like something from a bad sci-fi film, but not as bad.
The small puck on the device also houses the battery, which lasts 150 minutes (not hours) on a charge if the user is not using the camera, and only 80 minutes if they are. In contrast, Google Glass lasts "one day of typical use" according to Google, which in reality is more like 4 or 5 hours. Not ideal, but at least we're not counting the time in minutes.
As would be expected, SmartEyeglass can connect to an Android smartphone through Bluetooth, in the same way that Google Glass would. Google Glass, however, is likely to be a little better integrated with Android given the fact that it's based on Android and made by Google. This is likely to make Google Glass more user friendly, which is added to by the fact that Glass is voice controlled and doesn't require the user to carry around a puck.
Sony's AR offering also includes a 3MP camera, which falls short of the 5MP one offered in Google Glass.
All this to say that Google Glass is simply a better device than SmartEyeGlass, except when it comes to price. SmartEyeglass is available to developers for $840, which is a little more than half of the $1500 price tag on Google Glass.
SmartEyeglass is currently only a developer product, suggesting that Sony will work on the product before it is released to the general public. In comparison to Google Glass, Sony has a lot of work to do.