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Toshiba prototype is a simpler, lighter Google Glass rival... with a catch

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Nearly every tech company wants in on the wearables game, but they can't all be Google Glass or Apple Watches -- not that they have to be. But hey, here's Toshiba -- and it's got a Toshiba Glass prototype to show off. We'll say this right at the start: this remains a reference product that the company's showing off at CEATEC in Japan this week. And yes, technical specifics (let alone a price) aren't being discussed yet, but the vision for Toshiba's eye-based wearable prototype is a gentle, predictable one. The hardware is the combination of a tiny projector, attached to admittedly normal-looking frames. However, there's actually a special kind of one-sided reflective glass to catch the projection. The projection module itself is kind of bulky, but actually lightweight... which is great, until you realize that this prototype requires a constant wired connection to work.

Gallery: Toshiba Glass prototype at CEATEC 2014 | 10 Photos

According to Toshiba, there's no computational component in the arm, which primarily consists of a tiny projector and not much else. There's no camera, rather Toshiba's concept would act primarily as a notification system. The concept teaser (and accompanying projected images) offered glimpses of fitness tracker notifications, call reminders and a handful of business-based applications point towards security and warehouse use. Toshiba's New Business Development Division's Yuki Kaneko told us that's a device headed for B2B first: it's for other companies that also want Toshiba's system support and other business-type stuff... that we leave to other dustier tech publications.

When we brought up the inevitable Google Glass comparison, Kaneko-san was (surprisingly!) positive about the ever-present wire, citing that it kept the weight down by offloading not only computing (and other frills like cameras), but also the battery. Battery life is thus dependent on whatever device it's connected to, leaving the wearable lighter and more, well, wearable. The real device will appear next year, but consumer models for us mere muggles will likely be a while after that -- for now, this is a business-centered wearable -- which probably explains the "goggle edition." (Our words, not theirs.)

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