Google Glass rival set to launch at CES 2015
Osterhout Design Group is set to unveil a competitor to Google Glass at CES 2015. The San Francisco firm has spent the past six years building military-grade smartglasses, and aims to translate this experience into a device for the consumer market.
The 125g unit will supposedly perform similar functions to a tablet, with the creators anticipating a strong base of augmented reality developers. The glasses will also be equipped with capabilities for high-definition video playback, facial recognition, and overlaying 3D visuals onto the real world. This device will be competing with Sony’s smartglasses, also set to debut at the Las Vegas electronics show.
ODG says its aiming the device at the gap between devices like Google Glass and the more entertainment-focused Oculus Rift, with Vice-President Nima Shams saying “you can’t watch a movie or browse the internet on Google Glass”. The company claims you’ll be able to view video as if you were watching a 65in monitor from the other side of a room, achieved by the glasses’ see-through 3D display.
The hardware powering ODG’s wearable is pretty impressive, and betrays its heavy-duty military origin. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor comparable to current-generation smartphones, as well as GPS, Bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi. It will also run a variant of the Android OS, allowing for easier third-party app development.
This new entrant into the consumer wearables market could be a real competitor for Google. ODG has a proven history of producing smartglasses for use in the field, as well as a strong base of apps with useful real-world applications. The full-lens overlay is also attractive, particularly for those wanting to use their media with a smart device.
Another big selling point of ODG’s offering is the price. While the UK retail price for Google Glass is £1000, the projected price for ODG’s version is under $1000 (£656.28 at current coversion rates). The devices are also scheduled for release this year, whereas Google is still non-commital about whether it will even release Glass as a consumer product.
As a design group, ODG might also have cracked the principal problem of smartglasses – looking like a berk when you wear them. The ODG model is built into a rather attractive, if slightly chunky, Wayfarer design, which would be much less noticable in public spaces.
At the moment, there’s not quite enough details to confidently predict whether it will be a viable smartglass option, but we’ll be keeping an eye on ODG’s new smartglasses at CES 2015.