It's hard not to look at recent events and draw the conclusion that the wearable technology market is on an absolute tear. The sheer number of new products coming out in the field is just too hard to ignore for any length of time, and for many, Google Glass may well be the first—or at least one of the first—things that come to mind when it comes to considering examples of wearable tech. But Google (News - Alert) Glass is hardly alone in the field, and there are plenty of competitors available now and to follow.
Google Glass is indeed the king of the ring thus far, with a variety of functions on hand from the ability to take pictures and video, make and receive phone calls, and even offer some augmented reality options with a mounted display, allowing information to hover directly in front of the viewer. Glass has even seen something of a revamping in recent days, with new versions of the Glass device being offered to the original Glass explorers, as those early users are called. The revamp includes a mono earbud instead of previous speaker technologies that relied on bone conduction to transfer sound, and reports suggest there are likely more to follow before this technology goes into wide release.
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But indeed, there are competitors. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest such competitors is from Samsung (News - Alert), the company shaping up to be Google's rival on pretty much everything. Samsung's devices don't have official specs to list yet, but the expectation is that Samsung will try to match Google point for point at the least. There's also word about the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, which suggests a multi-faceted approach for Samsung in wearable tech.
Not to be left out, there's also word about a headset and a watch alike from Apple (News - Alert), with rumors adding to previously established patents to form a concept of such technology in the making. Indeed, even comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook have added fuel to that particular fire, suggesting that a wrist-mounted companion to the iPhone (News - Alert), at least, could be ready in 2014.
While Samsung and Apple's offerings are a bit more conjectural in scope, there are also competitors that are much closer to reality, like Sony's wearable line. Sony has been putting quite a bit of research into the field of wearable technology, and it goes back as far as 2012, with once again a set of patent filings to detail a possible device in the making. A patent from 2011, meanwhile, puts Microsoft (News - Alert) in the position of developing a head-mounted device complete with the ability to overlay information over live action, but again, there's no official word on the device.
All of this is great, but there are actual models both ready for pre-order or even shipping now, including Vuzix's SmartGlasses, the Recon Jet system, the GlassUp system and the Epiphany Eyewear system. Each offers a variety of different features and options, and at an equally wide range of prices.
The sheer array of pieces coming out just in head-mounted devices—as well as in wrist-mounted devices—makes it surprisingly clear that the wearable tech market has a lot of room to run. With a variety of devices already in play, and more likely to come, the sheer amount of choices that users will have is staggering. But will all the possible players make it to the field? Only time will tell if that proves to be the case.
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