Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses coming next year to challenge Google’s Project Glass

Vuzix M110 Smart GlassesGoogle’s Project Glass has hogged the headlines over the past six months when it comes to augmented reality spectacles, but there are other companies who’re working on similar devices, one of which is Vuzix. Vuzix has been busy perfecting augmented reality lens technology for a while, and its latest toy is the M100 Smart Glasses, prototypes of which will be on display during CES 2013.

Vuzix describes the M100 as an “intelligent hands-free display for smartphones,” but it’s a little more complex than that name suggests, as the M100 has its own 1GHz processor and Android 4.0 operating system, so it will run its own apps. Corresponding versions of these apps are loaded onto your smartphone, which connects to the glasses using Bluetooth.

Well, we call the M100 “glasses,” but it’s really a single stem with the lens mounted onto a Bluetooth headset style earpiece. This projects a 16:9, 240 x 400 pixel color image in front of your eye, which can contain everything from basic web content, email, video, GPS information and anything related to apps the two devices share. A camera can shoot 720p video and capture stills, and the M100 has 4GB of flash memory as standard. Other handy features include an accelerometer, a compass and Wi-Fi.

The extensive feature list means there’s plenty of opportunity for developers to build exciting apps for the Smart Glasses. During a recent interview, Vuzix President, Paul Travers, spoke positively about developers producing apps made especially for the M100, saying an SDK will be available in December and a selection of apps will be ready at launch, but exactly which ones has yet to be decided.

Working prototypes of Vuzix’s Smart Glasses will be on display at CES 2013, and it’s hoped the final versions will be ready to go on sale by mid-2013. The price? Travers told CNet the M100 would cost less than $500.

Google’s Project Glass isn’t expected to be available to the public before 2014, with only the Explorer Edition developer units coming in 2013.