The wearables market is becoming a growing obsession here at CES 2013 -- and it's been the first chance we've got to handle the Vuzix M100 -- its new lightweight set of smartglasses. It'll have some stiff competition from Google's incoming effort, although the premise is a little different -- less augmented reality, more a wearable smart screen that pairs to your tablet or smartphone. We've got a brief video and our first impressions after the break. %Gallery-174833%
First up, we'll cover the technical details -- the optical display projects a WQVGA resolution screen with 16 degrees of view. In use, Vuzix reckons it's comparable to a 4-inch cellphone display. Brightness measures in at more than 2,000 nits and the device can be tethered to either your left or right eye. It's powered by an OMAP 4 processor and the whole system runs optimized for Android 4.0 , although it can also be hosted on iOS software. Hardware controls include power, selection and volume up and down, while the smartglasses also gauge 3-degrees of freedom through head-tracking, alongside an integrated compass and GPS. The built-in camera is capable of 1080p video in 16:9 aspect ratio, although it'll be able to capture stills too. There's also a noise-cancelling mic built into the arm.
As headsets go it feels comfortable, lighter than many gaming headsets, but the battery is clocked for two hours of full use or up to eight hours on a "typical usage profile". You'll be able to use the smartglasses on top your normal glasses, and the image is discernable. We watched a few brief animation clips of The Incredibles and some music videos, although the device wasn't paired through Bluetooth to the tablet that steers the device. (Our demonstration was plugged into a Kindle Fire.)
The tablet interface includes a trackpad space, areas for clicking right and left button and a drop-down keyboard. We noted shortcuts to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were all ready to go and you'll be able to customize which apps appear on the smartglasses' screen. SDKs are now shipping for the M100 with an eventual commercial device set to launch this summer. The price? We've been told it'll land at around $500.