The final quarter of 2013 saw an immense amount of hype around the latest trend of wearable technology. In 2014, it's looking like the hype will pay off as more wearable technology products are hitting the shelves and becoming available to consumers.
This trend is largely due to devices that offer consumers an augmented reality (AR) experience like smart glasses. Google Glass is the most talked about smart glass product, and is expected to ship within the first half of 2014. Google Glass was limited to select users in 2013, and in 2014, it's expected to see production increase by tens of thousands of units. However, Google Glass isn't the only smart glass vying for your business. Here's what the competition has to offer.
The Recon Jet, which resembles a tricked-out pair of Oakley's, runs on Android 4.2.2, and it's targeted for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. The optical viewer is in the lower corner of your right eye and native apps are set to measure your heart rate, distance, speed, and more. Equipped with an HD video recorder and microphone, it's priced at $599.
Claiming to have a higher resolution and a larger display than Google Glass, ORA by Optinvent resembles a pair of glasses with an adjustable display. Dubbed the Flip-Vi, it allows you to place your AR screen where you prefer it. ORA supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, and it has a built-in camera and microphone. ORA is scheduled to be released this summer with a price tag of $300. Many consumers will see ORA as a more affordable opportunity to get in on the wearable technology craze.
Atheer labs is looking to provide a larger and more immersive augmented reality environment packed into a pair of glasses that look more like traditional athletic sunglasses. Atheer One comes with a front facing camera, gesture control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and its promo video previews a 3D environment that has yet to be experienced by any AR device to date. At a price point of $350, they are looking to make a huge splash in the upcoming year.
If all you care about is the capability to record video, and you don't necessarily want some of the hi-tech solutions offered by other smart glasses, then Epiphany eyewear is the solution you're looking for. There's no digital display, which means you have to watch your recorded video via another device like a laptop, PC, or tablet, and Epiphany looks so much like a traditional pair of shades that you would be hard pressed to identify them at even a close proximity. This makes them ideal for recording video covertly and starts at $299.
Another smart glass product that focuses on one function instead of including every feature of Google Glass is Glass Up. Glass Up offers an AR screen to check email, social media, browse the web, and more, but it doesn't come with a camera. This could be an attractive option for those not seeking to broadcast every part of their lives with a front-facing camera. Glass Up retails at $299.
These are just a few of the smart glass manufacturers ready to take the stage, and of course, rumors are floating around that Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are all working their own AR devices. This will lend itself to a barrage of new opportunities for software developers and technology companies who deal with Big Data and analytics. Now is the time to start paying attention to the wearable technology field with your ear to the ground and your eyes on the prize.