Although Google Glass has been much maligned and some are questioning their continued viability as a product, several companies are working on plans to jump on the smartglass bandwagon. One of those companies is Toshiba which hopes to launch Toshiba Glass during 2015 and join Google, Vuzix, Sony and others in the market space for smartglass devices.
Unlike Google Glass, the Toshiba Glass demo unit that was shown at CES 2015 does not include its own “screen” relying instead on a small projector to transmit the display onto the lens of a pair of eyeglasses. To make this work, the lens has be cut in a special manner to reflect the projection properly. Given that constraint, it is understandable why Toshiba plans to only target the enterprise market where companies can specify the types of devices employees may utilize to accomplish their assigned tasks. Although the projection unit part of Toshiba Glass can be detached and moved to different frames, the special lens requirement will make it difficult for general consumers to invest in, although the lens cut supposedly is not noticeable when not being used.
During the demo sessions at CES 2015, Toshiba had the device hooked up to a PC, which was not only the source of the information displayed, but also the source of power and inputs. Toshiba indicates they are exploring other power and input options though so that the device could be paired with a smartphone or some other separate device. Toshiba is also looking at how to incorporate touch and voice controls into the units.
Toshiba did indicate that there are some tentative plans to eventually produce a consumer oriented version of Toshiba Glass. However, that likely will not occur during 2015 as the company is focusing on their enterprise customers who may be interested in the devices.