More people may be able to buy and try out Google Glass these days, but it’s still an elusive and exclusive piece of hardware. However, if you want to save yourself a bit of money (but as we’ll discover, not all that much), then Vuzix has put its own M100 smart glasses up for sale to just about anyone. You’ll just have to get used to saying no to the inevitable barrage of, “Hey, are you wearing Google Glass?” questions though.
Vuzix says the M100 is the world’s first commercially available pair of smart glasses, but really it’s more of a hybrid Bluetooth earpiece/monocle with an over-the-head mount. The screen displays an image equivalent to a 4-inch mobile screen viewed at 14-inches away, with a resolution of somewhere around 240 x 400 pixels, or WQVGA.
It can be used over the left or right eye, and has a 1GHz Texas Instruments processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, and an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Vuzix talks a lot about its potential use as an augmented reality device, but doesn’t provide examples. Other features include a MicroSD card slot, a microphone, a speaker and various sensors. Like Glass, it has a video camera capable of taking 5-megapixel stills and shooting 1080p video.
A selection of pre-installed apps help with recording and viewing pictures, plus it’ll link up with your phone – Android only at the moment – and display notifications, track events, GPS directions, and show calendar entries. The battery is estimated to last six hours in standby, or two hours with the display activated.
We got a chance to try out Vuzix’s M100 glasses during CES 2013, and we were told it would cost less than $500 when it went on sale before the end of the year. Um, no. Vuzix got that a bit wrong, as you need to spend $1,000. That’s dangerously close to Google Glass money. If you’re not put off by the high price, then you can order the M100 through the firm’s site, but there’s still a two to four week wait before it ships.