A Google Glass alternative with a ton of potential, the Recon Jet HUD sunglasses are designed to take the company's wearable heads-up display for alpine goggles to the next level. Targeting outdoor enthusiasts like bicyclists and runners but also firefighters and medical workers, the Jet is designed to deliver critical information in real time right to your eye. And you can turn it off just by looking away.
Expected to cost in the $400 to $600 range, the Recon Jet features a heads-up display module below the right eyepiece, which Recon Instruments says will power on only when you need it. Our favorite feature is the optical touch sensor, which was pretty easy to operate. We swiped from app to app (including a compass and smartphone setup screen) with little effort; the company says you should be able to operate the sensor even with gloves on.
Running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, the Jet also features an HD camera for capturing video, a speaker and mic. GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ANT+ technology are also on board. The device is powered by a dual-core processor and uses an interchangeable battery while the battery inside Google Glass is fixed.
Recon Instruments told us that it purposely placed the heads-up display below the eye because that's a more relaxed and natural position for the user. We tend to agree; while using the device briefly it didn't feel awkward to stare down to grab information. The Jet is heavier than Google Glass at 2.1 ounces versus 1.3 ounces, but at least they feel balanced.
So what kind of info will the Jet deliver to wearers? Possibilities for athletes include surveying a golf hole to decide what club to use and seeing how your tracking against your best 4K time. A firefighter might be able to better understand his surrounding terrain during a forest fire to devise a better plan of attack.
The Recon Jet should be available in 2013. If Recon Instruments can get enough developers excited, Google Glass could have some real competition.