Toshiba is expanding into a niche area of the PC enterprise space with a pair of smart glasses that run Windows 10.
The dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses are designed for workers in the field, like a repair worker pulling up a blueprint or a warehouse worker scanning product barcodes. The two-ounce plastic frames feature a glass display that sits over your right eye, along with an outward-facing camera you can use to snap pictures or video.
You’ll notice the product features one big change over other smart glasses: the computer is separate from the headset. Instead, the glasses connect to a cartridge-like mini PC that can sit near your waist.
The specs are part of Toshiba’s dynaEdge series, a line of compact computers that weigh less than a pound. They will run a sixth-generation Intel Core processor and can include different memory configurations. The headset itself connects to the PC via a USB cable.
Toshiba chose Windows 10 for the OS for easy enterprise integration. It also tapped the expertise of Vuzix, which already makes smart glasses.
In a demo, the glasses essentially work like a portable Windows 10 PC. You can access the usual Windows desktop; on the right side of the glass frame is a touchpad that functions like a mouse. The head-up display has a 640-by-360 resolution, and only covers one eye, so you won’t get the greatest clarity. Squinting your eyes and scrolling through Windows via a tiny lens also isn’t exactly convenient or intuitive.
That’s why Toshiba is working to incorporate voice commands. It’s also developing apps that strip down the Window interface into something easier to use. The company showed us a Windows app that makes phone calls, view and share documents, and record and receive video. Interact with the apps via the touchpad or through actual buttons on the mobile PC.
The glasses have a four- to six-hour battery life. For internet connectivity, they run on Wi-Fi, meaning you’ll have to tether it to a smartphone when out and about.
Perhaps the biggest upside to the device is the mobile PC: you can detach it, then hook it up to monitor and keyboard, making it run like a normal Windows desktop. Separating the PC from the glasses frame also makes the product lightweight and easier to wear.
Nevertheless, the product isn’t for mainstream audiences, and you’re still better off with a smartphone. In addition, the Toshiba AR Smart Glasses are pricey: they start at $1,899 and go up to $2,899, depending on the configuration. Toshiba plans to start prototyping the device with select enterprise customers. Interested buyers can contact the company through its website for more information.