The Google Glass dream lives on Via Nord's stylish and standard-looking Smartglasses, which bring text messaging and navigation prompts into the user's field of view, and the Amazon Alexa integration for voice-assisted support.
Following the company formerly known as Thalmic Labs picked up on the launch last month, the Smartglasses focals can now be pre-ordered for $ 999 in New York and Toronto, where the company's showrooms are located (hence limited to those cities) localized ad campaign)
Focals replicate AR's head-up display approach, which Google Glass had promised to do without doing so Use utilitarian design and the cyborg-like appendages. The generator for projecting content still exists, but it is hidden within the bracket near the outer corner of the user's eye. The display is integrated into the lenses to reflect narrow streaks of red, blue and green light while all other points of the light spectrum pass through the eye.
For user input, Focals shares the voice-activated approach of glass. Instead of a trackpad attached to a temple, however, users navigate through a ring joystick – a logical approach for a company whose first product was a motion tracking bracelet.
One of the notable omissions is a camera. You can capture point-of-view photos and videos, just like Glass (or even Snap's Spectacles), but much less capture 3D content in the physical environment. On the other hand, Focals also bypasses privacy issues and backlash that glass pursues.
"Others have tried and failed to build smart eyewear that people love because they started functioning and struggled their way back to form – we did it the other way round – we carefully designed an aesthetics for bold, bold focals was enough to make a statement, but discreet enough for every day, "said Stephen Lake, co-founder and CEO of North in a blog post.
Startup interactions are limited. The smartglasses deliver text messaging, calendar events, turn-by-turn navigation and weather, along with the integration of Amazon Alexa for music, news, timers etc. and Uber for ride-hailing. While North will add more functionality over time, the inclusion of Alexa is due to funding from Amazon's Alexa Fund.
"We have arrived at an interface that feels immediate and manageable, but also minimalist." See or the world around you. Instead, it shows small, useful information that can swim an arm's length in front of you that you can see, act on, or reject, "Lake said." We deliberately chose to gain experience that transcends you beyond the confines of your living room
North offers two types of focals, the Classic version in December and the Round Designs will be delivered in 2019. In each order are a loop, sun clips, a battery compartment, a cleaning cloth, a wall plug and a tripod included USB-C cable. Corrective lenses are not available at launch, but the company notes that they coming soon.
Smartglasses require a custom sizing, with appointments booked on a first come, first serve basis he must be able to commit potential buyers to either of the showrooms to proceed with their pre-orders. Otherwise, interested parties can reserve a pair by making a deposit of $ 100
Focals offers a big step forward in the search for augmented reality wearables, but it's not without compromise. It can not perform spatial calculations or display 3D content in the user's physical environment, such as HoloLens, Magic Leap One, and Meta 2, and it does not even have a camera like Google Glass and other company-specific smartglasses. But on the other hand, you can wear focals in public. The price is in line with premium smartphones, but for its limited HUD functionality it is more expensive than smartwatches that offer similar quality of life improvements.
With smartglasses like Apple and Snap expected to come within the next two years, North's Focals offers the first litmus test for a mainstream AR wearable and a guide to the industry in which expectations are raised Shape, function and price go further.