Monday 9 December 2019

Samsung to launch 'Google Glass competitor' this year

Sophie Curtis

Google Glass finally went into "open beta" in the US today, giving anyone in the country a chance to buy one of the wearable computers for $1,500 (£890). But Samsung may not be far behind, if reports in the Korean press are to be believed.

According to a new report from Business Korea, Samsung may release its own web-connected eyewear – called Gear Glass – as early as September.

Gear Glass will reportedly feature a small prism slightly above one eye for viewing content and an earpiece for listening. It is thought that the device will run on the Tizen operating system – an open-source software that Samsung has played a large role in developing.

"We rolled out the smartwatch first, and have secured a considerable amount of smart glass-related technology and patents," a Samsung spokesperson told Business Korea.

"Following the roll out of our smart watch Galaxy Gear in September last year, we are slated to introduce our smart glass Gear Glass this September."

The new report echos previous rumours that have been circulating for months. Samsung has filed patents for wearable display technology in both Korea and the US, and Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin tweeted in October that Samsung would release a Google Glass competitor.

However, Gear Glass it will not be the only rival to Google Glass. Printer company Epson launched a pair of augmented reality smart glasses, called the Moverio BT-200, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Microsoft has also filed a patent for “a system and related methods for inviting a potential player to participate in a multiplayer game via a user head-mounted display device”, suggesting that it could be working on a pair of augmented reality glasses for Xbox gaming.

A report published today by the Pew Research Center claims that wearable devices such as Google Glass will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025.

Paul Saffo, managing director of Discern Analytics, predicts in the report that these wearable devices will disappear into what we wear or carry. "For example, the glasses interface will shrink to near-invisibility in conventional glasses," he said.

Samsung already offers a selection of wearable devices, including the Galaxy Gear and Gear Fit smartwatches.

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