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Sony steps up development of the SmartEyeGlass, ready to compete with Google

Sony is stepping up development of the SmartEyeGlass, a pair of smart glasses to compete with Google Glass. The company has released a software development kit for the eyewear, helping developers get started with the tech. Sony briefly discussed its plans for the SmartEyeGlass at both CES and IFA tech shows this year, and the announcement shows it’s ready to move past the concept stage.

Sony SmartEyeGlass TopThe glasses seen in these early pictures is a developmental prototype, and is almost certainly not the final design. At least we hope it’s not, because it makes Google Glass look like an Armani suit. Like the looks, the tech inside the SmartEyeGlass goes in a slightly different direction from Glass.

Instead of using a single prism, both lenses in the SmartEyeGlass act as screens, displaying a monochrome, holographic-style image that’s transparent enough not to block your sight, while still remaining functional. Sony promises good readability even in sunlight, a notorious problem on Glass. By not choosing a color display, Sony can also make the battery last longer, but at the moment it’s stored in an external pack, and not built into the glasses.

The specs will connect to an Android phone and Sony provides a few examples of what wearers will be able to see. Like the rest of Sony’s SmartWear range, the glasses will link up with the Lifelog app. A navigational view while using GPS is to be expected, along with hands-free viewing of websites — handy for recipes, or following a how-to guide — and contextual information such as overlaying real-time player stats while at a sports game.

Related: Sony’s also working on a tiny wearable camera to record your every move

The SmartEyeGlass also includes the usual array of sensors, including a microphone, and a relatively basic 3-megapixel camera. Take a look at the video to get an idea of how Sony wants the interface to look, along with a demo of a sure to be controversial Face Recognition app. Now the SDK has been released, Sony can concentrate on perfecting the hardware side, and plans to have a demo device ready for developers early in 2015.