This morning I got an email pitch about yet another Google Glass rival product called “GlassUp.” (You might be surprised by just how many Glass “copy cat” products are popping up.) The new “augmented reality eyeglasses” are currently available for preorder, and they cost $399—significantly less than the expected price tag of Glass, which should between $1000 and $1500. (No official Google release date has been announced, but rumors suggest Glass could be available in late 2013 or early 2014.)
From the GlassUp team:
“GlassUp is a second screen output for Internet-connected devices. Information is sent from the smartphone to the glasses through a low-powered Bluetooth connection. The glasses display all notifications from a connected Android or iOS Smartphone to the special lenses that display them as if they were in the air in front of the user. Messages are projected from a small electronic circuit and optical element housed in the frame. The messages or content people receive is determined by the applications they download. “
GlassUp is being positioned as a Google Glass competitor—note the word “Glass” in the name—but really, the two gadgets are very different. Google’s wearable computer is a standalone gadget that doesn’t require the use of a smartphone or other device, for one thing; and it runs Android. GlassUp is more of a smartphone peripheral that brings notifications to users as part of some clunky-looking glasses, not unlike the idea behind the average “smartwatch,” but in a different, more in-your-face—literally—form factor.
GlassUp also has the following advantages over Google Glass, according to its makers:
Projects the information close to the center of vision (like looking through a windshield), which causes less strain on the wearer’s eye. Other display glasses force the wearer to lift their eyes around in an unnatural way to see what’s on the screen (like looking through a rearview mirror).
Comes with a long battery life that averages 150 hours stand by, and 8 hours of normal usage.
The initial version is a “receive only” device, so there are no photos, videos or privacy issues.
Projects in monochrome, so it’s easier read.
The use of the name Glass could prove to be a legal issue for the GlassUp folks, so it could be renamed in the not-so-distant future. But it’s interesting to see how many “copy cat” products are popping up before Google Glass is even released.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.