This week in tech: Sony unveils smartglasses, Facebook wants to tweak your photos, and a Swiss watchmaker has second thoughts about ignoring Apple Watch. Let’s get started!
Can you see me now?
Earlier this week, Sony announced that they were jumping into the smartglasses space, but more as an OEM by licensing the technology to other companies to resell. Unlike Google Glass, Sony’s wearable concept has the potential to clip onto your existing glasses.
To me, this seems like a better approach, especially since two years in, Google is still having a hard time convincing consumers to adopt Google Glass. In addition, many consumers are concerned that they are being recorded by people sporting the smartglasses (having the pet name “Glass Holes” isn’t exactly encouraging).
On the surface, Sony’s iteration seems interesting and quite powerful. The smartglasses will include an OLED HD display that will project a 640 x 400 color images, and an ARM processor with both Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and touch sensors—so in essence, it will be like having Android right in front of your eyes:
With this level of power and connectivity, the apps should prove valuable for users. Following in Google’s approach, Sony is focusing on apps for sports and business to drive adoption and acceptance, as well as understand customer experience.
The screenshots above will give you a sense of what you will see if you were wearing a pair of these. Unlike Google, I think Sony has the better approach—having the ability to use this technology as needed but not being stuck having to wear them all of the time will increase adoption.
Sony plans on showing off this technology next month during the Consumer Electronics show in January, so I’m really looking forward to learning more about these. Overall, both Sony’s and Google’s technology are fun to watch develop, but the Holy Grail for this kind of wearable will be when we can have a true heads-up display like Iron Man or the Terminator. When the day comes that we have our regular glasses “project” images right within the lens, well, then we’ll really have something sci-fi!
Auto Photo Enhancements coming to Facebook
What is the most popular action people take on Facebook? Uploading photos—of their friends, family members, and themselves, all typically from a mobile device. Thus, the majority of photos uploaded by users are taken using a smartphone camera, meaning more potential for exposure issues and lower-quality images.
With the latest release of the Facebook App for iOS devices, Facebook is adding a photo enhancement feature that should help us all out (don’t worry, Android users—the feature will be coming to you soon too). The new feature will work simply enough: once you upload your photo as a post draft, the app will allow you to use a slider to adjust how much light, shadow, and clarity you want to apply to your photo.
While this won’t make us better photographers, it’s still a nice enhancement—even better, by the time you read this, it should be available on your iPhone’s Facebook App.
Time is ticking for watchmakers
When Apple announced the Apple Watch back in September, there was undeniably something different about their version of this wearable in comparison to other smartwatches on the market.
In typical Apple fashion, they didn’t just position the gadget as their latest tech offering, but also as a fine timepiece. This way, the smartwatch appeals to all manner of consumers—the fitness buff, everyday worker; even the CEO. Apple did this by offering versions in three different metals, including 18K gold, with a large variety of custom bands to attract the most fashion-conscious shopper.
Due to Apple’s consideration of user style with the Apple Watch, the fashion industry has started to question the impact this might have on Swiss watchmakers such as TAG Heuer and others. Initially, the consensus was that the Apple Watch wasn’t a threat—that smartwatches were gimmicky and would have short lifespans (even one made by Apple).
Four short months (and plenty of hype for the Apple Watch) later, the perspective among watchmakers has shifted a bit. Earlier this week, LVMH Watch Chief Jean-Claude Biver announced their own smartwatch initiative that could include both partnerships and acquisitions. In my opinion, this is a smart move on Biver’s part and I’m anxiously waiting to what they announce to stall the mass adoption of Apple Watch in early 2015.
And that, ladies and gents, is the end of this week’s highlights. This will be our last weekly recap for tech news for the remainder of 2014, and we look forward to picking this back up next year! From myself and the whole Parallels team, have a wonderful holiday and all of the best moving into the New Year! Feel free to leave your comments below, and for more insights, follow me on Twitter @SkeeterHarris.
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