With Google Taking A ‘Glass’ Timeout, Sony Launches SmartEyeGlass Developer Edition

While the future of Google Glass is in question (and in limbo), the market is ripe for rivals to jump in and pick up where the search giant left off. Count Sony in -- the Japanese electronics firm is off to the races with its new SmartEyeglass wearable that's already available to pre-order in Germany and the U.K. (it's coming soon to the U.S.).

What's available now are the Developer Edition SED-E1. It consists of a pair of glasses with hologram optics -- using holographic waveguide technology, the SmartEyeglass device can superimpose text, symbols, and images in your field of view for an augmented reality experience.

Sony SmartEyeglass

In a YouTube video that's nearly 2 and a half minutes long, Sony demonstrates some possible use case scenarios. A woman is seen walking down the street when suddenly the video switches to a first person point of view. What you see are direction markers, like arrows telling you which way to go, along with the distance to your destination.

Another example has the wearer having a text messaging conversation. The text messages are superimposed, and to respond, you talk into a puck shaped device that's tethered to the glasses by way of a wire. The puck itself attaches to your coat or shirt.

There are several sensors built into the device, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor, microphone, and noise suppression sub microphone. There's also a speaker (in the controller) and a 3-megapixel camera for taking still images.

Sony's SmartEyeglass device only works with Android (version 4.4 and up); it's not clear if support for iOS and/or Windows Phone is in the cards. For developers who want to get in on the ground floor, there's an SDK available, along with an API overview, both of which are found on the Developer Tools page.

As mentioned, you can pre-order the SmartEyeglass in Germany (€670) and U.K. (£520) now. It'll also be available in Japan (100,000 yen) and the U.S. ($840) in March.