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Is Sony’s SmartEyeglass ‘augmented reality glasses’ massively overpriced?

Sony’s answer to Google Glass, the SmartEyeglass augmented reality glasses, just got a UK price and release date. But at a whopping £620, just who is the SmartEyeglass aimed at?

Google Glass may have been shelved, but if you’re an augmented reality obsessive you can pick up Sony’s version – the SmartEyeglass – from March 10th here in the UK. The cost? An eye-watering £620.

The SmartEyeglass performs in a similar fashion to Google Glass, overlaying text and images for the user to check out while they’re getting on with life. There’s a built-in 3-megapixel camera for snapping your environment, plus sensors such as an accelerometer.

However, you also have to deal with a remote control disc, which has to be permanently attached to the glasses to function. This is used to control the SmartEyeglass and also has a built-in mic (why the mic isn’t part of the glasses, we’re not too sure).

The SmartEyeglass has plenty of useful functions, such as the ability to throw up a map for quick and easy navigation or check out notifications without fumbling around with phones or watches. However, we doubt that many consumers would be in a position to shell out over half a grand for such a luxury.

So, who is the SmartEyeGlass really aimed at?

Like Google Glass, we can see it carving a niche in some businesses and services, where users need real-time information delivered straight to their eyeballs while keeping their hands free. The glasses could be used in hospitals, warehouses and all manner of environments, and could even prove useful in areas like security and RnD. Of course, there’s still a potential problem in that control disc – to be truly competitive, Sony would do well to ditch that and come up with full voice controls, perhaps supplemented by buttons on the device itself.

Google Glass never hit retail here in the UK, but the prototype cost around £1000 to buy, so at least Sony’s version has shaved off a serious chunk of change. That £620 price tag could be enticing to professionals, if it proves itself a worthy device – certainly a lot more enticing than it will to consumers, considering it’s more than a brand new premium smartphone.

And with Google Glass tipped to make a glorious return in 2015, it’s good to see competition developing in this interesting area of tech.

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