Epson-Moverio-BT-300Smart glasses are hot again, but not for the consumer market, and we are all waiting for Google Glass to show up again for the enterprise segment, where HUD and AR glasses will bring the best value to the user experience. Intel is coming full force in that market with the amazing, powerful, and probably very expensive, Daqri helmet that launched at CES 2016 during the Intel keynote.

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Today, Epson, one of the leaders in the smart glasses category, launched its third generation product, namely the Epson Moverio BT-300, the successor of the Moverio BT-200 and it packs impressive performance in a light and compact glass package connected to a small wearable android computer. According to Epson, the Moverio BT-300 enables truly transparent mobile augmented reality (AR) experiences.

Epson Moverio Smartglass solution background

Epson, a leader in the projector business with 50% to 55% of market share*, started to explore the smart glass technology back in 2009, introducing the Moverio BT-100 in 2011. The second generation, the Moverio BT-200 and the Moverio BT 2000 were launched in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The BT-2000 is the industrial version with a forehead mount, a dual 5 MP stereo camera, swappable batteries, a programmable physical button, simple voice command, ANSI certification for safety and more.

The Moverio gen 2 smartglass solution has been out for two years now, and, according to Epson, 60% of sales come from the enterprise segment. The company works with third-party developers such as Ngrain, which develops AR tutorials, or APX Labs for example. The Epson store currently offers about 150 application for the Moverio glasses.

Smart glasses technology is based on image projection, and obviously, the Japanese manufacturer can easily leverage its craftsmanship to develop an affordable high quality see-through Heads Up Display (HUD).

Epson Moverio BT-300 Hardware

Epson has greatly improved its third generation product by upgrading the CPU from an old TI OMAP 4460 1.2Ghz Dual Core to an quad core Intel Atom X5 processor, the front-facing camera resolution from VGA to 5 megapixel and the OS from Android 4.0 to Android 5.1.

Please note that the Epson BT-300, needs to be connected to the provided black box which contain the chipset and the battery. The sensor suite that enables head tracking and the projection technology are located in the glass unit.

While beefing up the performance, Epson was still able to reduce the weight by 20%, from 88 grams to about 71 grams (our weight estimation).

Epson Moverio BT-300 Display and Viewing Experience

Mike Leyva, Associate Product Manager, New Markets, Epson America, Inc., showed us a demo of the BT-300 and we tried it in Ubergizmo’s San Francisco office.

The new display is very impressive, the resolution has been upgraded from qHD to Full HD (1080p), the field of view is larger and the new Si-OLED (silicon-based OLED) technology allows for true black levels because, unlike LCD projection, it does not need a backlight. The visual quality is unmatched, with all text being perfectly legible as if you were looking at a large monitor. The sharpness is incredible for a HUD.

With OLED, every single diode can be turned on with a color or off, so black is just the absence of light (off). According to the company, Epson is one the two manufacturers on the market able to use OLED for projection.

Thanks to the OTG design (Over The Glass), the BT-300 can be worn over your prescription glasses.

Price and availability

The Epson Moverio BT-200 is priced at $699 while competitive solutions are above $1000: we bought the Google Glass for $1500, and it is currently priced at $3642.80 on Amazon, the Vuzix M-100 is priced at $1079, the ODG R-7 Glasses can be ordered for $2,750, the Hololens Devkit costs $3000 and we assume that the Daqri pricetag will probably be way more than that.

The Epson Moverio BT-300 will be available in late 2016 and is available for pre-order at Epson.com/Moverio.  The price for the new product has not been officially confirmed, and we were told during the briefing that the Moverio BT-300 will be sold between $729 and $749, which is a very good price for the performance.

*Editor’s note: Market share information provided by Epsonbt3gaming

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