Latest in Android

Image credit:

A look at Optinvent's updated Ora smartglasses (hands-on)

James Trew , @itstrew

On the last occasion we got to enjoy some face time with Optinvent's Ora smart glasses, things were a little more... "prototype." Today, at the Wearable Technology Show in London, we got a chance to see how things have moved along since then. While we were still looking at far-from-final hardware, things have definitely moved on. As you'll see from the gallery, the latest prototype is still lacking the polished, seamless finish that the retail version will have, and a lot of the touches (rubber seals adjustable nose bridge etc) are not present here. What we do see, however, is a much better sense of how the glasses will look when joe public gets to put its face in them in the next month or so. Oh, and we had a quick spin on them too.

Gallery: Optinvent Ora hands-on | 14 Photos

The first thing we noticed is that they're not as slight and delicate as other smart glasses we've seen. The general fit is comfortable, and we appreciate that things will improve with the retail units, but the section containing the camera, touchpad, and we assume main innards, that sits over your right ear might take some getting used to. The trackpad interface (which we didn't see last time) was responsive, and tactile enough that it's easy to find -- especially given that it's surrounded by bezel. The same arm is where the screen mount attaches, and is adjustable, meaning you can tilt it up and down to place to display in different locations of your field of view. Definitely a bonus for personal preference, as well as specific app functionality (notifications, versus augmented reality for example).

The main news here today, is that this prototype was fully working with the functioning (Android 4.2) operating system, custom user interface, touch control and the much needed WiFi connectivity. We weren't able to test any apps and features out, but we did get a good feel for how it will work. Unsurprisingly, it's very similar to Google's offering, but also that's no bad thing. There are a host of other hardware features, too, that include GPS, proximity detection, 9 axis accelerometer, an ambient light sensor and that rechargeable battery. One that, incidentally, will last longer (up to 3 hours intensive use, or 8 hours "typical" use) due to recent optimization, and will be replaceable (so you can stock up on spares). If you're wondering if all those sensors come at a price, you'd be right. A pair can be ordered from the Optinvent website now for $949/699€ and are expected to ship in May.