Google Glass may soon have a new friend – the Samsung spectacle.
Or so we think. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung filed a patent for smart, sports-oriented glasses that could be connected to a smart phone. This comes on the tail end of Samsung making big moves into the wearable tech market, while tech companies scramble to get a chunk of the rapidly expanding industry.
The patent, which was filed with Korean authorities sometime in October, show an electronic device shaped like glasses with translucent frames and a cord that connects in the back and extends to a micro-USB. The device also has earbuds built into the sides, and is categorized under “sports glasses.” According to the patent, the wearer could also answer phone calls using the device.
“This design is of a type [of glasses] with earphones integrated, allowing [users] to take phone calls and listen to music during workouts,” according to a memo that accompanied the mock-up.
The fact that Samsung is pursuing a sports model is key because it would distinguish its smart glasses in two ways. First, Google Glasses do not have earbuds, which takes away a tech standard: the ability to listen to music. Second, many wearable tech watchers are concerned with the heavy battery that has to be attached to Google Glasses and other stand alone wearable tech. The Samsung model includes a mini-USB that can be attached to a smart phone, conceivably using a smart phone's battery over one that would weigh down the frame of the glasses.
Samsung isn’t the only tech company attempting to balance a computer on the bridge of your nose. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Microsoft is testing prototypes for “web-connected eyewear," though there is little information about what its model will offer. Ars Technica reported on a French start-up called Optinvent that is working on a model with a larger screen.
This also comes on the heels of Samsung releasing the Galaxy Gear, a smart watch that connects to the wearer’s smart phone and can be used to take calls and photos.
However, so far all we’ve seen from Samsung is a patent for the glasses, and since tech companies will often file many patents without launching any products, it remains to be seen whether it will come to the market. For now, the Google Glass are the only smart spectacles to be seen.