“A profound social barrier for the average consumer.”
That’s the damning verdict on Google Glass from Joseph Farrell, Executive Vice President of Operations at BiTE Interactive.
He was responding to his firm’s equally damning survey for the Google Glass Adoption Forecast, in which a measly 10% of Americans said they’d wear the heavily publicized, web-connected smart glasses.
Yet more proof that the hype doesn’t often equal the reality.
And I couldn’t be less surprised.
Indeed, the main “social barrier” to entry with Google Glass is that wearing the device is just plain awkward. Almost half the survey respondents cited this as the reason for not buying it.
Price is another hurdle. At $1,500 a pop, that’s a hefty wad of change for a device that makes you feel self-conscious. Or as Farrell told Mashable, the technology will lead to“high social rejection with features the average person simply doesn’t value over their smartphone.”
Given such a tepid response to Google Glass, you’d think we’ve already seen the end for smart glass technology.
Instead, competition is actually heating up…
When it comes to creating cutting-edge technology, you can usually bet that the Japanese are somewhere in the mix.
And that’s certainly the case here.
Undeterred by the largely negative response to Google Glass, Japanese startup, Telepathy Inc., is taking a crack at the smart glasses market.
The company just unveiled Telepathy One – a wearable, interactive device that also offers on-the-go, hands-free connectivity.
Created by entrepreneurial CEO, Takahito Iguchi, the obvious initial question is: What the heck is this guy thinking?
Taking on mighty Google in an area that’s not only unproven, but has also received mixed early reviews?
He’s doomed, right?
Not so fast.
In true innovative fashion, Telepathy One offers a couple of distinct, positive differences to Google Glass.
From Creepy to Cool
While Telepathy One is still worn on the head, it’s slimmer, more lightweight and more discreet than Google Glass.
And while Google Glass has acquired a dubious “creep factor,” with people fearing that the device will be used to secretly tape conversations, take pictures and videos, Iguchi pitches Telepathy One differently: “We think that connecting people and creating a better form of communication is more important.”
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The device features a camera and five-inch display in the user’s line of sight. It captures audio and visual images in real-time and uses wireless Bluetooth technology to send data to recipients via the user’s smartphone. Incoming texts, photos and videos are received the same way and shown on the display. Earbuds supply the audio and help secure the device to the user’s head.
For example, if you’re at the mall and want someone’s opinion on a shirt, you can snap an image or stream a video to “instantly convey what you’re seeing to your friends or family. [They] can then instantly comment back or respond with their own voice – and it happens completely hands-free,” says Iguchi.
His team is currently working on social media integration for the device.
When is a Competition Not a Competition?
In addition to its overall look, the biggest design difference is the fact that Telepathy One works for people who wear regular glasses – a feature that Google Glass doesn’t offer.
And while the price hasn’t been determined yet, Iguchi says Telepathy One will be much cheaper than Google Glass.
He’s also aiming to launch it to the public by the end of the year – a clear, all-important attempt to beat Google to the market.
Yet despite all this, Iguchi says he’s not actually competing with Google at all. “I don’t think Google is my enemy,” he told Entrepreneur. “I’d like to shake hands and create a new industry with them.”
Hmm… what’s the Japanese word for “gamesmanship”?!
Ahead of the tape,