Google Glass

Google Glass
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Technology these days is moving at quite an incredible rate, just in case you haven't noticed. It seems like every company now is vying for the top spot, whether it's a smartphone, smart tv, smartwatch, or smart glasses. Like me, you may have thought the smart glass arena was dominated by Google, but there are some promising alternatives. Of course google has the name to stand behind coupled with limitless marketing, but they are far from the only option for feeding you information with even less effort.

These are three of my favorite alternatives, but rest assured there are more avaiable now, and even more to come.

3) Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses

These smart glasses are a true competitor to Google Glass. At $1,000 they are selling for well under Googles “beta” glasses which are not available yet to the general public. Vuzix's glasses are ready to purchase and their site claims shipping in 2-4 weeks. The M100 is aimed at versatility and reaching as many people as possible. First there are two ways to wear the system, either an over the head system, similar to headphones, or mounted to the frame of Vuzix's glasses. The system is a bit larger and mor obvious than Google's alternative, but not absolutely terrible. And back to that versatility, there are three ways to use the M100 runs full android system: local, HUD and collaborative.

Local: In local mode apps are stored and run directly on the M100, meaning you don't need your phone or other device with you.

HUD: In Heads Up Display mode (HUD) your apps are stored and run on your phone or android devices and only and the glasses act as a monitor .

Collaborative: Basically is a mix of the first two. Some apps, which will be exclusive to the glasses will run on them while others run on your phone.

Vuzix is also making their glasses more diverse for different types of people. So the display can be set for left or right eye dominate preferences. And the display is said to be the equivalent of a 4” smartphone screen held at 14”. The company does not give details on how long they expect the battery to last since it will depend so much on how they are used, however they do say that there will be an external battery pack that will last 7 times longer than the built in battery.

2) LaForge Optical ICIS

These glasses are different...and cool. First, they match your prescription lenses, so no trying to wear your classes and your smart glasses. They don't do bifocals...yet. Another interesting thing about the LaForge glasses is that the software is all on your phone (iOS, Andriod or Windows Mobile). They also have designed these to fit your style. Currently they offer 3 different styles, though they say they are going to add more soon.

The user intereface is based on the frame of the glasses, using swipes and touches to control your glasses. The controls are supposed to be very intuitive. Oh and the price, well unofficially it is $400. The glasses are not on sale yet, the first batch of “test glasses” are expected to be sent out in mid-2014 to people who have already pre-ordered them. Keep an eye on these, affordible, stylish and cheap. 1) Recon Jet (Recon Instruments)

If you're into sports, like runinng, biking or skiing, these are for you. There are 2 products here, the Jet and the Snow2. Jet is a HUD that displays information on their glasses such as speed, distance, cadance, heart rate, etc. The glasses are also compatible with many 3rd party devices such as hear rate monitors, power meters and other. Right now the company offers just one set of lenses, the glasses are high-performance sports shades with polarized lenses. Right now perscription lenses are not available though the company plans to add those later. And at $599, the price is not unreasonable for what you get. The display is my favorite part. First the company has made the display lower than your normal line of site so it does not distract you, but is easy to see. Then they describe the screen equivalency. The display appears like a 32” tv 7 feet away. These glasses, as you would hope are compatible with Andriod and iOS devices.

And for those of you into winter sports (or wearing goggles) the company offers the Snow2. This is just plain awesome. It gives you access to real time stats, buddy-tracking, smartphone connectivity, apps and music player. The goggles are controlled by a Low Energy Bluetooth remote you wear on your wrist or arm. The display module is compatible with most major goggle brands such as Oakley, Zeal, Scott an others.

When it comes down to it, no matter what you're looking for you can find it, though you may still be waiting for a while for the actual release. Before you go to Google I recommend you check out these alternatives because each of them is designed with a different purpose in mind.

Google Glass

Google Glass Explorer Edition XE V2 (COTTON WHITE)
Amazon Price: $1,239.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2016)