Sony’s latest swing at wearables is one of its most interesting to date, taking the form of a smart headset module designed to clip onto just about any pair of glasses. The unnamed prototype hardware is capable of standalone functionality and incorporates a single, pixel dense OLED display.
In light of its dire financial situation, Sony has put a renewed focus on innovation of late. Just last month we saw its undercover E-Ink watch surface, and the company has now turned its attention to head-mounted wearables, encouraging developers to get on board with its new prototype module.
There are a couple of interesting things about the new hardware, the first of which is its apparent universal compatibility. Unlike most smart glasses we’ve seen up until now (including the company's own SmartEyeglass concept), Sony’s new prototype is designed to clip onto just about any eyewear, whether it be a pair of fashion glasses, sunglasses or goggles. It weighs just 40 g (1.4 oz), and consists of a pair of modules that sit above each ear, along with a single 0.23-inch display.
That tiny screen is the second most compelling aspect of the prototype. Sony has worked to develop all new technology for the device’s OLED Microdisplay, achieving a contrast ratio in excess of 10,000:1 with 100 percent of the sRGB color space. It also developed new light shield tech, lowering pixel size, improving aperture ratio and outdoor readability.
Despite its diminutive size, the display packs a resolution of 640 x 400, and like Google Glass, it isn’t designed to dominate the user’s field of view. According to Sony, it’s equivalent to viewing a 16-inch screen from 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
Moving away from the display, Sony has packed a lot into the module, including an ARM Cortex A7 processor and a 400 mAh battery, as well as both 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.
Rather than shooting for an initial consumer release, the company intends to supply a limited number of units to developers, along with an SDK. Interestingly, developers could either choose to host an application on a connected smartphone, or load it directly onto the module itself, creating a standalone device.
Sony believes that the wearable can fit many use cases, but none more than sports. It suggests athletic uses like hands-free cycling data, augmenting a round of golf with live course maps, or pairing with a smartphone to provide live action cam feeds.