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Samsung Spectacles: Google Glass competitor spotted in design patent

The Wall Street Journal has spotted a Samsung design patent for wearable computer glasses. Patents are usually as ugly as possible, but keep in mind that this is a design patent. Unlike a regular patent, the final product should look pretty close to the patent.

Samsung goes the complete opposite direction of Google with tethered eyewear.


Samsung is going a completely different route than Google. Instead of a self-contained Android wearable that wirelessly tethers to a phone for mobile data and phone calls, the Samsung goggles are literally tethered—with a micro-USB connection. The Samsung Spectacles (that’s what they’re calling these, right?) physically plug into a smartphone, which sounds like it could fix a big problem with Google Glass. As a self-contained unit, Google Glass has to fill every available space with battery.

Theoretically, Samsung’s glasses could draw power from the smartphone’s battery, which could make the device less bulky than Glass and give it a longer battery life. An SoC would not even be necessary in the device when you have a cable; the glasses could just be a display device for the smartphone. Physically tethering the device opens up a whole world of possibilities, with the only downside being that you now have to do something with the cable. Given that most of the world has found a way to deal with wired headphones, this doesn’t seem like a major hurdle.

You won’t need headphones, because Samsung has opted to integrate earbuds into the frame of the glasses. This picks up a huge feature that Google Glass left on the table: music. The patent says that the device will allow users to “take phone calls and listen to music during workouts,” and it categorizes the product as “sports glasses,” meaning that Samsung doesn’t expect these to be worn all day.


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