Sony slipped the official SmartEyeglass app into the Play Store yesterday, and now here we are with an official announcement on availability (sort of). The developer edition SmartEyeglass is available for pre-order in the UK and Germany today and ships in March. It'll cost you a hefty sum to get a piece of the next wearable concept. Sony is asking $840 (£520, €670) for the developer unit.

The SmartEyeglass Developer Edition (model SED-E1) has a few things in common with Google glass, but the design approach is quite different. The display is a full-frame transparent lens that fills your field of vision for a true augmented reality experience. The UI painted on top of your vision is only monochrome, but like Glass it ties into your phone to do navigation, searching, and messaging.

SmartEyeglass_features_700px-700x451

Okay, so it looks kind of dorky and huge, but that's just the start. There's a wired controller that allows you to use the SmartEyeglass. This controller also contains the battery, speaker, mic, and some other sensors. Let's keep in mind this is a developer device (there's an SDK to go along with it). So maybe the wired controller is forgivable? How much battery life does that external battery offer? 150 minutes if you're not using the camera... okay, Sony. I understand this is for developers, but 2.5 hours of battery life max?

Here are the rest of the specs.

  • Type of head-mounted-display: Binocular see-through with a separate controller
  • Resolution: 419 (H) X 138 (V) pixels
  • Field of view: Diagonal 20° (Horizontal 19° x Vertical 6°)
  • Image colour: Monochrome green with 8 bit grey scale
  • Frame rate: 15 fps
  • Brightness (max.): 1,000 cd/m2
  • Transmittance: More than 85%
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor, microphone, noise-cancelling microphone
  • Camera: Still: 3MP
  • Video (soundless): JPEG stream – QVGA-equivalent 15 fps (developers can use the JPEG stream in their apps)
  • Sound: Speaker in controller
  • Power source: Built-in lithium ion battery
  • Battery life: When not using the camera: approximately 150 minutes. When using the camera: approximately 80 minutes
  • Connectivity with Android device: Bluetooth v3.0, IEEE802.11b/g
  • Android OS compatibility: Android 4.4 and above.
  • Maximum external dimensions: Eyewear when folded – approximately 180 mm × 39 mm × 72 mm (width/height/depth); when unfolded – approximately 180 mm × 39 mm × 182 mm; Controller – approximately 54 mm × 21 mm × 60 mm (not including protruding part)
  • Cable: approximately 63 cm (length)
  • Weight: Approximately 77 g (glasses excluding cable); approximately 44 g (controller).
  • Operating temperature range: 5℃ to 35℃
  • Storage temperature range: -15℃ to 50℃

If this was an actual consumer product I'd be shocked and appalled that someone was selling it. For a developer device, I guess I don't get to be appalled. I'm just... confused.