Google Glass could soon be rivalled by a cheaper, more simplistic set of smartglasses – ION Glasses.
ION Glasses are glasses designed – like Glass – to interact with users’ smartphones and tablets.
While they lack the camera and detailed heads-up display of Glass, ION Glasses use a multi-coloured LED and buzzer built into a more typical-looking – what the founders describe as a “fashionable and appealing design” – TR90 “plastic titanium” frame in order to provide notifications from the devices.
The smartglasses use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to iOS or Android devices, and connect to an app on either platform to customise the LED’s flashing and pick from 256 colours to allow users to differentiate between different types of alert such as social media notifications, calendar reminders, battery status, timers and messages.
The glasses, which are said to have a battery life of “between 3 and 10 days” when charged via micro-USB, also have remote controls integrated into an arm of the frame, with the buttons able to be used to control music, volume, the phone’s camera and voice recorder, and slideshows. A ‘Radar Search’ feature on both the app and the glasses can be used to locate one using the other.
One big difference between the ION Glasses and Google Glass is the price – those who donate via ION’s Indiegogo campaign can grab a standalone ION Glasses frame, which can be used with prescription lenses, for $89 (£55), with a retail price of $129 (£80) once they launch.
For $99 (£62), Blue Mirror or Green Sun ION Glasses, which include Blue Mirror or green organic crystal lenses respectively, can be had, increasing to $149 (£93) after launch.
By comparison, the Google Glass Explorer glasses are currently $1,500 (£938) for developers, with no consumer price or release date announced.
Those wishing to distribute the ION glasses can opt for the Distributor Pack, which provides 50 sets of the frames for $3,499 (£2,189), saving $2,951 (£1,847).
The ION Glasses Indiegogo campaign, which ends on November 16th, is looking for $150,000 in order to mass produce the glasses, but the founders say that the glasses will be released regardless, with a predicted release date of February 2014.