Smartglasses are trying to get back into the limelight after briefly being upstaged by smartwatches and even virtual reality headsets. Sony just revealed its plans to develop a display module that could turn any regular eyewear into a smart one. Now, Vuzix. who has been trying to compete, or in this case out pace, Google Glass since 2013, is announcing that its app store is open for business, ready to serve what it claims to be thousands of users of the M100 Smart Glasses that it put up for pre-order and started shipping last month.
While Google Glass can be credited for popularizing the concept of smart glasses, it’s snail paced approach to commercializing the wearable has given others the chance to swoop in and fill in the gaps. Vuzix, whose M100 we got to try out early last year, started pre-orders of the glasses mid-November, with a shipping date scheduled about a week after. Now to complete the ecosystem, Vuzix is opening its app store to give users access to more content and more apps to use on their smart glasses.
The current list of apps in the store cover a broad variety, from entertainment, to health, to business. There are, of course, a wide selection of Augmented Reality apps that overlay useful, as well as fun but not so useful, information on top of the real world view. There are social networking apps like Instagram as well as a number of music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. For more serious uses, you have tools a bubble level tool, network analyzers, and even a magnifier.
The Vuzix M100 itself doesn’t fare any better than Google Glass when it comes to appearances. It actually looks a bit more bulky and more uncomfortable, considering the rather large contraption strapped to the right side of the frame. Some of the advantages Vuzix has over Google’s implementation is built-in GPS and, of course, being actually available in the market to some extent.
For the initial phase of Vuzix’s app store, all smart glass app will be made available for free. It will only be next year when Vuzix will flick the switch and enable paid apps to be added and bought.