Google may be a bit ambiguous about Google Glass‘ future, but Sony seems unfazed. Either it has a very strong faith in the still non-existent smart eyewear market or it thinks it can take advantage of Google’s failure there. Either way, it is pushing ahead with own attempt but also tries to approach the problem from a slightly different angle. SmartEyeglass Attach!, which is not to be confused with its other, odder attempt, may succeed in one area where Glass failed: flexibility.
SmartEyeglass Attach! wasn’t designed to be a complete eyewear solution, unlike Glass. Instead, it is simply a more marketable name for what Sony calls the “Attachable Single-Lens Display Module”. In other words, it should be able to attach to any type of eyewear, and not just eyeglass. It can even attach to goggles. At least that’s the theory and, as we’ve seen at CES 2015, implementation is still a wee bit limited.
Sony has just released a video shedding a few details on the module, like what is composed of and what it can be used for. In terms of applications, you get pretty much the same promise as Google Glass, but perhaps even less in some areas and more in others. There’s fitness, which is a no brainer, but there are also sports applications, like for tennis and golf. How that works in practice remains to be seen. Sony also isn’t saying yet what software platform it will use for this, but, based on the video at least, it will be compatible with Android.
Of course what Sony is really hyping here is the hardware itself, which it considers to be unparalleled in how it crams everything, including both displays and sensors, in such a tiny space. Sensors include your usual compass, accelerometer, and touch for interaction. The display itself only measures 0.23 inches but has a resolution of 640×400. The brightness of 800 cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 10,000:1 will definitely be necessary in outdoor light.
Of course, given our experience with Google Glass, the most important question is “when” and secondly, “for how much”. Google has left us hanging with Glass and, while there is probably little doubt Sony can manage to make such a device, turning it into a commercially viable product is a whole different question altogether.