ODG Needs To Put Android On Your Face For Much less Than $one thousand Later This Yr
Regardless of spending my complete time at CES scoping out cool devices in digital actuality, augmented actuality, and wearables, there was nonetheless plenty of neat stuff that I missed whereas in Vegas final week.
One such gadget I missed was a pair of augmented actuality glasses from Osterhout Design Group, a San Francisco-based mostly firm that’s spent the final six years iterating on AR for army and industrial shoppers.
At CES, ODG introduced that it plans to launch a shopper mannequin of its sixth-era glasses. ODG VP of Head-Worn tech Nima Shams informed me throughout a demo yesterday that the corporate needs to offer customers a “head-worn pill expertise,” however packaged in a extra handy type issue than say, 3DHead’s terrible Oculus Rift knock-off.
When it comes to specs, the pill description isn’t far off. The buyer mannequin is powered by a Snapdragon 805 system-on-a-chip, which ceaselessly seems in flagship telephones and tablets from Android OEMs. The present demo unit is operating Android Package Kat, although the ultimate launch will sport Lollipop.
The glasses themselves are like Google Glass on steroids. As an alternative of cramming the processing and battery into one aspect, the Snapdragon, storage, and 5 MP digital camera are proper up entrance, with the edges reserved for packing in massive ol’ batteries. Beneath the computing hardware however behind the glasses lenses correct are two 720p screens that work in unison to offer stereoscopic 3D. The top result’s a pair of glasses that appear to be one thing Kanye would put on with one among his extra eccentric outfits:
Hater blockers, now with Android pic.twitter.com/0aDI5StPqA
— Kyle Russell (@kylebrussell) January 15, 2015
Whereas powered by Android, ODG has created its personal software program layer to adapt Google’s telephone OS to be used with glasses. Referred to as “Reticle OS,” the interface could be very slimmed down, supplying you with a single row of your favourite apps on the house display adopted by a folder with the remainder of yours apps.
I received to play with a couple of demo apps, and the expertise is surprisingly clean. There have been the apparent AR demos (take a look at this 3D object come out of this piece of cardboard!), a VR-ish demo the place you would watch a 360-diploma video by wanting round, and even an internet browser that loaded pages in a short time and dealt with precisely as you’d anticipate with a handheld keyboard with an built-in trackpad.
The expertise can really feel fairly a bit like Google Glass for those who drop the brightness, with notifications popping up with out completely distracting you. In the event you up the brightness and hook up with a Bluetooth keyboard, it virtually seems like having an enormous pill floating in entrance of you. A number of the apps (e-mail, I’m taking a look at you) nonetheless look a bit an excessive amount of like conventional pill/laptop computer interfaces, and will use a redesign to scale back info density.
You management ODG’s sensible glasses with a Blackberry-like trackpad-nub on prime of the suitable arm and commonplace Android again/menu buttons. The group acknowledges that not everybody needs to swipe on their temple on a regular basis, so every pair of glasses comes with a tiny wearable Bluetooth ring with the identical hardware buttons/trackpad and movement sensors that provide the choice to maneuver the cursor with gestures.
The one method to get anybody to spend as a lot on a pair of sensible glasses as they might on a excessive-finish telephone is to provide them purposes meaningfully higher than what they will get on the system already of their pocket.
With the ability to take pleasure in films and the online “privately” whereas in transit was the most important professional Shams introduced up throughout our demo. Wanting round on BART (San Francisco’s transit system) and on planes, it doesn’t actually appear to be individuals thoughts gazing their smartphones in public, so I don’t know if that’s the angle ODG ought to play up when it comes time for his or her shopper launch.
That’s why it’ll be key for ODG to get builders on board to make apps designed particularly for Reticle OS and AR. A full SDK and developer hardware based mostly on the buyer launch are coming later this yr, although ODG isn’t prepared to offer a ultimate launch date or pricing particulars (in addition to “lower than $1,000″) simply but.