A few months ago, we gave you a small peek at a new entrant in the race to deliver augmented reality smartglasses to the masses, and now the device is finally ready for the public. ThirdEye Gen is now accepting preorders for its X1 Smart Glasses, which will also provide users with an AR-centric app store.
Retailing for $1,999 and expected to ship before the end of the year, the X1 Smart Glasses boast dual stereoscopic 720p see-through displays capable of 40 degrees field of view. The displays project images that deliver the equivalent of a 90-inch screen as seen from 10 feet away. And while the lenses are photochromatic, adjusting for tint based on sunlight, they can also be swapped out for prescription lens.
Along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the devices are equipped with 13 megapixel HD cameras, an array of sensors, and a flashlight. With 32 GB of built-in storage, the X1 also possesses a microSD slot, a microphone jack, and a USB Type-C port for data transfer and charging of the swappable 2,400 mAh battery.
At the moment, the app store itself doesn't have much to choose from aside from a few demo apps the ThirdEye developers have published as hobbies. One app is an AR maze that players navigate by turning their heads to avoid obstacles; another places icons and information over restaurants and bars around Princeton, New Jersey, where ThirdEye is based.
"The ThirdEye App Store will help spur augmented reality app development," said Nick Cherukuri, president of ThirdEye, in a statement. "Our X1 Smart Glasses can switch between AR and VR, and we wanted to create a platform that benefited the developers creating the best AR/VR applications."
The X1 Smart Glasses run on Android, which gives developers a familiar environment for building apps. Currently, ThirdEye is accepting submissions for apps, which can be free or paid, with a percentage of proceeds from paid downloads distributed to developers.
"We wanted to create a platform where developers can submit their apps and make money off of their apps," said Cherukuri in an interview with Next Reality.
However, even at this early stage in AR, the X1 may have a rough time gaining traction with interested users. Why? Because ThirdEye is positioning the X1 as a solution for the enterprise market, a space where there are already a good number of hardware options for enterprises, along with a plethora of software providers catering to existing players.
Nevertheless, when it comes to at least some of the competition, the X1 Smart Glasses may stand out as a solution that is focused on building up and supporting its AR app store, allowing enterprise customers to easily install additional software as they see fit.
"We offer a fully integrated product — the X1 Smartglass with AR apps," Cherukuri told Next Reality. "Our patented software is also hands-free, so the UI [user interface] is controlled via head-motion, which is more natural for AR and different from smartglasses that require touchpads."
The company has also developed a unique virtual three-screen interface, as opposed to the typical heads-up display. ThirdEye's implementation keeps the user's direct point of view free of obstructions, with data and video displayed to the left and right fields of vision.
In addition to the ThirdEye AR app, which provides functionality similar to software from RE'FLEKT, ScopeAR, Upskill, and others, the company is developing two other apps. One, which is aimed at the sports and entertainment sector, would emulate up to 10 video screens within the three virtual displays. Another app would display geocached content for use in walking tours.
Although the X1 has not shipped yet, the company already plans to release the X2 by July 2018.
"We will try to stay on the cutting-edge and see what other sensors we can include while keeping the prices reasonable," said Churkuri.
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