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Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (BIDU), Google Inc (GOOG): The Suddenly Crowded Smartglasses Space

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Lately it seems that every other day brings with it news about the emerging wearable technology space. A few days ago I wrote about The Suddenly Crowded Smartwatch Space. In that article I talked about how the much hyped, but completely unconfirmed, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iWatch product was being joined by the confirmed Samsung smartwatch and the unconfirmed Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android smartwatch.

Baidu.com, Inc.

Just last week Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) each join the fray, but this time in the smartglasses space made famous by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass.

Google Glass
First a little bit about Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass. Officially unveiled last year, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass is the company’s effort to develop and offer augmented-reality smartglasses to the masses. Google Glass is essentially a wearable computer, with the lenses acting as the display monitor. Although the lenses will only be about 2-inches wide, it will appear much larger to the user. Large enough for the user to be able to vocally interact with Google various services; searching with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Search, navigating with Google Maps, video conferencing with Google+ Hangouts and sending and receiving text messages using Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Now (just to name a few).

At least initially, Google Glass will not be a replacement for the smartphone, but a supplement to it. Lacking any cellphone connectivity of its own, the Google Glass smartglasses will be wirelessly paired to an Android or iOS device to provide all of the internet-connected functionality. What hardware the Google Glass does include is an integrated GPS chip, an embedded camera for taking still photos and 720p video recording, and bone-vibration audio ‘speakers’ (instead of traditional earbud speakers).

Google Glass is presumed to have a release rate of Q4 2013 for the complete version, as well as a modular version to be used with a user’s existing prescription glasses soon after.

The Baidu Eye
Originally thought to be an April Fools’ Day joke, a leaked image purportedly showed a Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) employee wearing a prototype smartglasses device. It was soon learned that the device was no joke, as it has now been confirmed by Chinese internet search giant as a real device under development. Codenamed the Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) Eye, from what little we know this device is similar to Google Glass in many regards.

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