Mobile World Congress, canceled last year and going on delayed this year, is usually the home to big go-to-market announcements with consumers in mind. TCL has decided to take a few shots from the niche corners with a trio of products including a wonky pair of smart glasses.
If I told you that Razer is making something it calls "smart glasses" (and if you were a cynical and jaded follower of tech news), you might ask, "but where do the RGB lights go?" The answer is nowhere. Surprisingly, Razer's new Anzu smart glasses don't feature any. They're essentially a riff on Bose's Bluetooth audio sunglasses, and they don't feel especially gamer-focused.
Plenty of companies have attempted smart wearables in different forms, but getting people to put on enhanced eyewear has become the gold standard, and it's a formula nobody has truly cracked yet. However, like many others, Samsung is in the process of developing its own pair of smart glasses, and a couple of leaked concept videos demonstrate a series of ambitious goals that might be available when (or if) these spectacles launch.
Google is acquiring smart glasses manufacturer North Inc., reportedly to the tune of $180 million, shoring up its own hardware, wearable, and "ambient computing" efforts with the acquisition. Google saw limited success with its own "Google Glass" smart glasses, though the project lives on. The new purchase could also complement Google's acquisition of Fitbit.
When it comes to selling what it makes, Amazon's Echo speakers are the company's bread and butter. But those speakers were, at one point, experiments and they've had their time to grow — just as much as that AmazonBasics microwave turned into a smart oven, but whatevs. So, we're here to talk about the new Echo Show smart display, wireless earbuds, a lamp, a pair of sort-of-smart glasses and a sort-of-smart ring.
Alongside the announcement of its new flagship smartphones — the P30 and P30 Pro, for those who missed it — Huawei also unveiled some new wearable gadgets. These include variants of the Watch GT aimed at slightly different audiences and some new audio products.
Earlier this week, The Information reported that Intel will be shutting down its New Devices Group, the branch responsible for developing wearable consumer products such as the Vaunt smart glasses prototype. The news comes a few months after Intel announced it had also given up on developing its own smart watches and trackers.
Despite all of the product's problems, I still wish Google had decided to release Google Glass to the general public (the $1,500 Explorer edition doesn't count). The company decided that medical institutions and industry were the markets for Glass, and now Olympus is following suit with its 'EyeTrek INSIGHT EI-10 Smart Glasses.'
In the battle to become our smart assistant of choice, Amazon's Alexa is currently losing out in one key area: mobile. Apple's iPhones have Siri, and Android phones have the Google Assistant, but with the failure of the Fire phone, Alexa isn't the convenient choice on any smartphone. According to a report in the Financial Times, Amazon plans to address this issue by launching a pair of 'smart glasses' that can interact with Alexa.
Google Glass gives wearers access to notifications, the ability to take pictures of what they see, and other bite-size nuggets of general tech geekery, but the device relies on tactile swipes and voice commands to manage it all. Atheer One, a pair of smart glasses that were recently funded on Indiegogo, promises users the ability to interact with its virtual UI elements using just their hands.
Don't expect an experience even remotely comparable to that displayed in the video above, though. Atheer One will overlay a 26-inch Android tablet UI 50 centimeters from your face, which you can interact with in mid-air as you would a regular tablet (assuming you owned a flying tablet).