October 9, 2014 weblog
Toshiba Glass shown at Ceatec in Japan
Toshiba plans to introduce its own brand of smart glasses called Toshiba Glass, part of the peeks, prototypes and general buzz events at Ceatec in Japan.
Toshiba Glass is to feature tiny prisms etched into the lenses. Matt Hill, writing in Gizmodo, referred to the smart glass entry as "the new kid on the block," targeted for release next year. Tim Stevens of CNET called out the contrasts between Toshiba Glass and Google Glass, saying Toshiba's entry has fewer features, including the lack of camera. "More significantly, Toshiba Glass must remain physically tethered to a smartphone to work, as it lacks a battery or processing power of its own." John Anon in AndroidHeadlines also called out differences. "The main difference with Toshiba's Glass is that it does not contain the typical Google prism – the small additional window attached which does provide the user experience." James Niccolai of the IDG News Service talked about how this works, saying "unlike Google Glass, Toshiba's glasses don't have a prism over the lens to reflect the image into the eye. Instead, with Toshiba's product, the glasses lens itself comprises a series of narrow, vertical prisms. They're pretty much invisible when you look straight through the lens, but an image projected from an angle reflects back into the eye."
Anon commented that "With both the lack of the glasses independence and the limited ability to project information and images Toshiba's offering is unlikely to offer anywhere near the experience provided by Google," he remarked. At the same time, Anon said Toshiba Glass could find its place in the smart glass market. He said "It is far more likely that Toshiba's version will be more price-relevant to the general public" and, practically speaking, may serve the purpose of use as a tool for instructional purposes.
The Nikkei Asian Review article about Toshiba Glass said it will be promoted "for such everyday applications as reading recipes in the kitchen." IDG's Niccolai also noted it would be easy to imagine an industrial use case, such as giving an engineer instructions to repair something, so they can still have both hands on the job.
Toshiba hopes to start shipping their glass product next year; the frames are expected to be launched in three styles – standard, sporty and industrial.
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