Mobile Phones

Microsoft has Google Glass alternative in the works

MicrosoftThough Google Glass is still a prototype style product, Microsoft is wanting to get in on the action. Sources close to the WSJ say they have been contacting manufacturers in Asia about various components for their own version of the wearable technology.

According to someone at the company who has remained unnamed in media reports, Microsoft has been ordering in the parts necessary for a pair of computing eye wear.

However, they seem to be realistic about the prototype. Chances are it will never see beyond the initial development stage, and probably won’t be mass produced for the consumer market.

The most likely scenario is that this is another test by the company in an attempt to keep a handle on the emerging wearable technology trend. With the brand receiving a major overhaul, and now losing their CEO, the direction of on products remains unclear. They seem to be weighing their options, and it isn’t a stretch to say hardware development will remain a primary focus from here on out.

But there is one thing that seems to show them to be serious about the possibility of releasing such a device. As of this month, they have apparently filed an astonishing 172 patents related to head mounted computing, including screen based devices. Of those, 78 have gone through, and 94 remain pending. This eclipses Google, Apple, Samsung and any other brand in patents from that category.

Of course, they could just be covering their bases. Microsoft has learned their lesson more than once about being late to the gadget game, and have become known almost entirely for software. Their struggle to become just as successful in hardware has been pretty fruitless. Windows Phones are not all that popular, and the Surface tablets did so badly that it might have been the final nail in Steve Ballmer’s coffin.

Even in software, Windows has not made a dent in the mobile market. Android remains the OS of choice, and Apple is never going to budge from their self-created iOS.

This could be them patent snatching as much as possible on the off chance the idea of Google Glass takes off and they develop their own version that they feel will do well against it.

In the end, we have to look at the problems associated with computing eye wear. Privacy issues, safety issues, cost, applications and efficiency…these are all downsides. Yes, products like Google Glass could have military or professional uses thanks to the head mounted screen sight. But for a consumer electronics, they are facing an uphill battle.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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