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CES Feature Articles

January 07, 2014

GlassUp Augmented Reality Gets Working Prototype in for CES 2014

Exciting news for those who hoped that Google (News - Alert) Glass would have some competition going into the market when it went into full release emerged at Las Vegas' latest round of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)); one competitor, GlassUp, seems to be well on the way, and is bringing a working prototype to the big show. This new prototype is set to do what many had hoped for, and more still hope will go farther before it's all said, done and released.

More specifically, GlassUp's eponymous augmented reality glasses will allow users access to a variety of bits of information, including text messages and emails as well as directions to certain locations, social media updates like Facebook (News - Alert) messages, and others besides. Apps are currently being developed for the GlassUp, and reports suggest that certain developers already have the GlassUp API in hand, working with it even now. GlassUp uses a Bluetooth connection to connect to a smartphone, which then routes information from said smartphone to a set of special lenses in the GlassUp, which is then displayed seemingly in mid-air in front of the user. The content, in turn, is largely determined by what apps the users download and put to work accordingly.

GlassUp, however, offers some critical points of value to help distinguish itself from Google Glass, and  potentially, other entrants into the field. The most obvious of these is cost, as GlassUp is set to run just $399 as compared to Google Glass' current Explorer version price of $1500, though some reports have suggested that Google Glass' price will fall substantially when it finally goes live. However, GlassUp also offers what's said to be an approach that promotes less eye strain, projecting information near the center of vision, a more natural angle. The GlassUp also offers eight hours of normal use on a single charge and 150 hours of stand-by charge. It projects in monochrome, which is set to be easier to read, and only works as a receiver, so many of the privacy issues associated with Google Glass—as well as many of Google Glass' functions—are lost.

Those interested in checking out the GlassUp first-hand will be able to do so at the Venetian Hotel, where GlassUp's CES booth can be found. GlassUp won't be alone in the field, however, as competitors  like Telepathy have also been seen hard at work in the field, out to get out prototypes and claim a slice of the augmented reality market.

GlassUp's approach is a smart one, though it may not be quite as smart as some hoped.  GlassUp seems to be going for the bargain approach, and for many users this will likely prove enough. Some people really are concerned about the privacy issues inherent in Google Glass, though others were hoping for an easy way to liveblog an entire life all from one easy platform. But for those who just wanted information, quick, dirty and useful, then the GlassUp is presenting a worthwhile package. It's going to force some reconsideration of some laws, like those of head-mounted displays and driving, and make some people reconsider purchase plans. There was little way that Google would have the augmented reality market all to itself for long, and competition is likely to shake up the field in ways we can barely imagine. It's going to be downright exciting to see just where it all goes from here in the coming months, and the final products especially so.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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