Microsoft reportedly preparing Google Glass competitor

Microsoft may be preparing a competitor to Google Glass, according to a new report, though little information on what the product may entail was provided.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft "is testing prototypes for Internet-connected eyewear similar to Google Glass," citing sources with knowledge of the development. Beyond that statement, however, The Journal provided no informational about the product, such as if it even has a chance to reach the consumer market.

The report follows the discovery of a 2012 patent filing Microsoft submitted for augmented reality glasses. That filing attempts to patent "the system and related methods for inviting a potential player to participate in a multiplayer game via a user head-mounted display device." According to the filing, Microsoft's proposed glasses would use both visual and voice recognition and be capable of facial recognition and eye tracking.

In June 2012, a leaked Microsoft product roadmap mentioned a pair of computing glasses code-named "Fortazela." The roadmap stated a WiFi version of the glasses was slated for release in late 2014, followed by a version for cellular networks sometime in 2015.

Source: The Wall Street Journal | Image via U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

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45 Comments

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I would never wear any kind of smart glasses until they actually look like regular glasses... plus will they make prescription lenses!?

From what I remember Microsoft Research labs already had glass prototypes long before Google did it. But to be honest, I don't see any use for this for consumers but probably police force and mechanical engineering industries instead.

Whenever Google does something everyone says they copied someone else or that it will be an instant failure...

Anyway, wearable tech like this and watches seem to be the next thing to be innovated in tech. Just a matter of who does it right I guess. Tho I wouldnt be buying a watch or wearable smart glasses anytime soon myself.

neonspark said,
glass is a failure. I don't see why they wish to copy it but may as well, so will everybody regardless.

Yes, lets mark a product a failure when it is still in development phase and has not hit the market.

techbeck said,

Yes, lets mark a product a failure when it is still in development phase and has not hit the market.

How many years of noise can we give it before we call it vaporware?

On bad hardware or poorly written drivers, but as a IT, I must admit that I haven't seen a blue screen in years. So, let me reiterate: In what year are you living ?

I want Razer and Gunnars to get together to make something like this... it must look like real and feel like real glasses (meaning nobody would be able to tell you're wearing computerized specs). Those are my two favorite companies and I'm certain they'd be able to do it.

And this is why people have been excited for Google Glass. It spurs innovation. Glad you pessimists get to see this come full circle.

Xenosion said,
And this is why people have been excited for Google Glass. It spurs innovation. Glad you pessimists get to see this come full circle.

How come Samsung's Galaxy Gear doesn't get the same response? They're both too expensive and have extremely limited functionality.

Microsoft's rumored to have been working on something like this since before Google Glass was announced -- it has a long history of wearable computing products.

Anthony Tosie said,

How come Samsung's Galaxy Gear doesn't get the same response? They're both too expensive and have extremely limited functionality.

Microsoft's rumored to have been working on something like this since before Google Glass was announced -- it has a long history of wearable computing products.

First of all Google Glass will likely be a LOT cheaper than the current "early adopter" program. It isn't being mass produced so that increases the prototype costs. You are also paying a lot for labor. When it goes to market it will be significantly cheaper, I think.

In regards to Galaxy Gear: a lot of folks just don't think wearing a smart watch is a good idea, so of course their response is going to be bad anyway. Next there are a group of folks that DO think a smart watch is a good idea, but they see the Galaxy Gear as a very poor execution of that otherwise good idea.

All we can do is speculate on what kind of a "Google Glass" MS will come up with. Many see this as a good idea, but if it is executed poorly (like Galaxy Gear) the reception will turn sour quickly.

You act like Google Glass was the first head mounted display. Seeing as this was already on a leaked roadmap (I don't know why it's being brought up again) last year, it doesn't surprise me MS had something in the works.

Zedox said,
You act like Google Glass was the first head mounted display. Seeing as this was already on a leaked roadmap (I don't know why it's being brought up again) last year, it doesn't surprise me MS had something in the works.

Google Glass is probably the first head mounted display with the goal of being as ubiquitous as the smartphone. Previous head mounted displays couldn't ever hope to achieve something like that. The jury is still out on whether or not Google will meet that goal. Just because something isn't the very first in its category, doesn't mean it can't be innovative and spur others (like MS) to be more innovative.

Shadrack said,

First of all Google Glass will likely be a LOT cheaper than the current "early adopter" program. It isn't being mass produced so that increases the prototype costs. You are also paying a lot for labor. When it goes to market it will be significantly cheaper, I think.

In regards to Galaxy Gear: a lot of folks just don't think wearing a smart watch is a good idea, so of course their response is going to be bad anyway. Next there are a group of folks that DO think a smart watch is a good idea, but they see the Galaxy Gear as a very poor execution of that otherwise good idea.

All we can do is speculate on what kind of a "Google Glass" MS will come up with. Many see this as a good idea, but if it is executed poorly (like Galaxy Gear) the reception will turn sour quickly.


That's a lot of assumptions on what it will eventually be -- I'm judging it for what it currently is, which is how almost all products are judged. That's not to say it can't be good down the line, but the same could be true of a future version of the Galaxy Gear.

Google did a great job with the hype machine, whereas Samsung suffers the problem of people assuming that whatever Apple announces will blow it away, even though an Apple smartwatch hasn't been officially confirmed. I don't see how the execution of Google Glass is much better than the Galaxy Gear, all things considered (price, features, etc.).

Anthony Tosie said,

That's a lot of assumptions on what it will eventually be -- I'm judging it for what it currently is, which is how almost all products are judged. That's not to say it can't be good down the line, but the same could be true of a future version of the Galaxy Gear.

Google did a great job with the hype machine, whereas Samsung suffers the problem of people assuming that whatever Apple announces will blow it away, even though an Apple smartwatch hasn't been officially confirmed. I don't see how the execution of Google Glass is much better than the Galaxy Gear, all things considered (price, features, etc.).

Because they are two separate categories. Galaxy Gear = Already at market and mass produced. Galaxy Gear 2 may be better, but many think the Galaxy Gear 1 isn't that great. Samsung may make improvements to the software, but the hardware is what it is right now.

Yes, I agree with you 100%: Google Glass is currently not worth the price (just like Galaxy Gear isn't either to me). But you are trying to draw comparisons between something that is still considered by many as a prototype (Google Glass/this MS thing) with a finished product (Galaxy Gear).

Also, I'm not sure I follow how Apple is involved in any of this. They've yet to release or announce anything in either category. The only way Apple is involved is because rumors on the Internet that may not have even originated at Apple (wouldn't be the first).

I don't call two dots between your eyes as innovation. I call it retarded looking. Think of how distracting that would appear trying to have a conversation with the person wearing these....not that I would want to be seen around anyone wearing them.

Shadrack said,

Because they are two separate categories. Galaxy Gear = Already at market and mass produced. Galaxy Gear 2 may be better, but many think the Galaxy Gear 1 isn't that great. Samsung may make improvements to the software, but the hardware is what it is right now.

Yes, I agree with you 100%: Google Glass is currently not worth the price (just like Galaxy Gear isn't either to me). But you are trying to draw comparisons between something that is still considered by many as a prototype (Google Glass/this MS thing) with a finished product (Galaxy Gear).

Also, I'm not sure I follow how Apple is involved in any of this. They've yet to release or announce anything in either category. The only way Apple is involved is because rumors on the Internet that may not have even originated at Apple (wouldn't be the first).


Google Glass isn't mass market because it's not a feasible production strategy at the moment. It'd be laughed out of the market at the current cost (which is due to components -- I'm not saying Google is trying to make it an elite product; they've said the opposite, in fact).

My point on Apple is that Samsung is suffering from people assuming whatever Apple makes will be amazing, which has dampened the enthusiasm around the product. In reality, however, both it and Google Glass are paired devices. Google Glass is more expensive and is more polished, however.

I don't see how Google Glass can be called a prototype at the moment. It's not in the mass market, but calling it a prototype is a bit of a reach, IMO. It excuses all the problems with the device, which is silly. Again, however: I am not saying it can't eventually be good.

LaP said,
I thought Goggle Glass was ugly. After seeing this I changed my mind.

All styles of sunglasses will eventually be considered stupid looking.

The massive helmet visors being worn by the Fierce Generation need to hurry up and get there, though.

trojan_market said,
thats not it. its a cheap 3D glass you get in cinema. look at the patent picture, don't know where u got this but its not that

I'm pretty sure he was kidding