Why it matters: Vuzix is now accepting pre-orders for a consumer version of its Blade AR glasses. Is the public finally ready to be reintroduced to smart glasses after the failure that was Google Glass? And perhaps more importantly, will people jump to pay $1,000 for the opportunity?
First shown at CES 2018 a year ago, the Vuzix Blade eyewear is more akin to Google Glass than say, Microsoft's HoloLens or Magic Leap's mixed reality headset, in that it essentially delivers the functionality of a smartwatch... except, for your eyes.
Using a semi-transparent screen mounted in the right lens, the glasses can display various notifications from a connected smartphone. There's also an integrated 8-megapixel camera for recording video, capturing photos and eventually, enabling more AR-like experiences, as well as support for personal assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.
If Google Glass taught us anything, it's that most people aren't interested in futuristic-looking eyewear. Aesthetically speaking, Vuzix's Blade is far more toned down although it's still a little on the chunky side due to the self-contained internal hardware.
Vuzix CEO Paul Travers told Engadget that the Blade has its own app store with hundreds of developers onboard. According to Engadget's Nicole Lee, however, some of the titles are "pretty silly."
Lee, who has been using a pre-production version for the past week, also said she found the unit to be clunky, cumbersome and unflattering. Furthermore, she said the Bluetooth connection seemed flaky and noted how Alexa wasn't ready and she couldn't transfer photos to her computer.
Those interested in pre-ordering the Blade can do so over on Vuzix's website. Expect to shell out $999.99 for the opportunity. Units will ship within four to six weeks, we're told.