The SiME (pronounced see-mee) smart glass has been getting its time in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons - the sellotape.
And as we at Stuff like to sleuth out the truth, we paid the ChipSip booth a visit to see if it's in the league of Google Glass and the reality behind the sellotape.
READ MORE: An hour with Google Glass in Singapore
Will this give Google Glass a run for the money?
The SiME smart glass is a standalone device running standard Android 4.2 instead of the simplified version that Google Glass packs, which means you get the full-fledged abilities of the Android OS. But that also means you get the usual apps that might not have been designed specifically for smart eyewear.
That all depends on the app ecosystem that ChipSip might be able to build up with the help of developers until its eventual mainstream release (slated for sometime next year).
Another thing that the SiME has got going for it is its higher resolution. It does 720p as compared to Google Glass’ 360p. When we tried it on, it still wasn’t as sharp on the brightly lit show floors or in your natural line of sight, and we found ourselves constantly looking to the top right, which will make people give you a strange look on the street, as if wearing the glasses wasn't bad enough. That display is still a few pixels short of perfect, but if the specs are right, it definitely outdoes Google Glass.
For now, we get the use of the touchpad on the right side and also gesture controls in the form of your finger hovering to the side of the glasses. Yes, it'll look weird. Like you're wagging your finger at someone very naughty and invisible. But every new form of tech goes through that awkward growing up stage.
Problem is there's a certain invisible boundary that if your finger drifts out of, the camera won’t be able to pick up and it’s a little difficult to coordinate at first. But once you do, use your finger as the cursor and keep it on an icon to open the app. We hear that ChipSip is potentially working with museums to bring visual elements to a largely audio-led tour system.
If you want to listen to music, it doesn’t have that bone conduction tech that Google Glass uses for audio. That means you’ll have to plug your headphones in to watch a video.
The biggest challenge that SiME can issue to Glass though is the price. We hear they’d like to price it around US$500 (S$625) when it eventually gets to the consumer, as compared to Google Glass’ current US$1500 (S$1877). It’s a steal. And would motivate more competitive pricing for consumers' benefit.
That silly sellotape
Every unit of the SiME smart glass was sellotaped. So obviously we had to ask why. The exhibitor explained that it’s because of the countless hands manhandling it that they’re resorting to reinforcements. But having tried it on, we have to say that the glass tilts to the right quite significantly, because of the battery located in the end of its right arm and the computing module on the same side.
The whole thing was an awkward, flimsy affair but as with most things at Computex, these are ideas in the making though we hear the final product will be revealed at IFA later this year.
But still there’s nothing like some competition to keep things interesting in the area of smart eyewear.
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