Sony’s smart glass uses regular glasses, aims for sports and work

Sony has announced its own take on the smart glass concept. To be formally unveiled at CES next month, the Single-Lens Display Module can be attached to existing glasses, to add a heads-up display and general smartness.

The unit clips round the back of the user’s head, attaching to each of the glasses’ temples. [company]Sony[/company] is working on a software development kit (SDK) so people can make hands-free information apps for the thing – the Japanese firm reckons it will be ideal for sports and factory work, and could even be paired with a high-quality action camera to make it easier to check the angle of view.

Although the pictures of the device that Sony released on Wednesday suggest otherwise, the module doesn’t have its own camera. Indeed, a Sony spokesman told me that the images are of a prototype and do not represent the finished product.

The camera was left out for size and weight reasons, he said. That is probably a bonus from a privacy point of view, though it also makes the unit useless for life-logging (a pointless battery-killer in my opinion) or augmented reality (the display is too small for that anyway.) There is an accelerometer and an electronic compass in there, though.

Sony said it would also say more about the unit’s communications capabilities when it releases the SDK.

Sony Single-Lens Display Module sporting images

Sony Single-Lens Display Module sporting images

The module includes a 0.23-inch OLED display with a 640×400-pixel resolution, which is slightly higher than Google Glass’s 640×360 pixels. The company said the experience will be like looking at a 16-inch display from two meters away, which means it wouldn’t impede the user’s field of vision a bit less than Google’s unit. Sony claimed its display covers 100 percent of the sRGB color space and has a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and has at most a 0.01 millisecond response time.

There have been reports that the next generation of [company]Google[/company] Glass will also turn to OLED technology (whenever that generation appears), but depending on Sony’s schedule it looks like the Japanese company will have a higher-quality — if smaller — display on the market first.

The brains in the module come from an ARM Cortex-A7 processor, which is the energy-efficient processor architecture you’ll find in Android Wear devices. There’s a 400mAh battery (less than Google Glass’s 570mAh affair), Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and the whole thing weighs around 40 grams, including the display arm and the secondary arm. That’s a couple grams lighter than Google Glass.

The proof will be in the testing — and let’s hope the finished product isn’t nearly as bulky as the prototypes — but Sony is well-regarded for its display expertise. If it gets its pricing right, this might be a good first step in Sony’s glass game.

This article was updated at 2am PT to include a couple more details about the specifications, and again at 4am PT to reflect Sony’s confirmation that the pictures it published Wednesday weren’t of the finished product.

Huawei’s thin, high-end Android 4.0 phone: Ascend P1 S

Prior to Huawei’s CES scheduled press event on Monday, the company took a shot at high-end handset makers with the Ascend P1 S. Just 6.68 millimeters thin, the phone runs Android 4.0 on a Texas Instruments dual-core OMAP chip and 4.3-inch high-resolution Super AMOLED display.

Why your next smartphone may have a larger HD screen

Samsung is reportedly shrinking the size of full high-definition screens and will create them for large smartphones and small tablets. The Super AMOLED Plus technology could support 1280×720 resolution on phones over 5-inches, as well as 7-inch tablets. Even better, the technology is getting cheaper.

Rumored Apple Tablet Now Rumored to Be Delayed

Ever entertaining—if unreliable—DigiTimes has not one, but two big tablet rumors today. The mythical device (subscription required) has been delayed from early 2010 to the second half of next year, and there will an OLED model. Seriously.

According to anonymous sources inside that the electronics supply chain, Apple (s aapl) changed the launch from March—as opposed to January—to “switch some components” and to add a model with a 9.7″ OLED screen. The OLED model will be manufactured with a display from LG Electronics, as part of a $500 million dollar contract with Apple. That model would be in addition to an LCD tablet with a 10.6″ display. Read More about Rumored Apple Tablet Now Rumored to Be Delayed

Cali to TV-Makers: Cut Energy Consumption in Half By 2013

It’s official: New TVs sold in California will be more energy efficient in coming years. The hotly debated state energy efficiency standards for televisions — the first of their kind in the nation — have just been approved by the California Energy Commission (hat tip our friends at sister site NewTeeVee). The standards say that new TVs sold in 2011 (58 inches and smaller) need to reduce energy consumption by an average of 33 percent by 2011 and 49 percent by 2013.
Many TV makers have opposed the rules, while the state’s utilities support it. Groups like the Consumer Electronics Association say that the efficiency standards will result in higher prices of TVs in California, closings of stores that sell TVs in California (because those customers will go online or out of state to buy TVs), and unhappy customers who won’t be able to find certain popular TV models in California because they won’t be economic to produce there. The CEA says that the industry has been getting more energy efficient on its own and doesn’t need regulation, which will lead to “decreased industry competition and less innovation.”
But as Amy Westervelt pointed out over on Solve Climate earlier this week, the ruling could lead to a boost in sales in the state for manufacturers that specialize in energy-efficient screens, using LCDs backlit with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and next generation organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Consumer electronics giants from Sony to LG to Samsung are working on OLED TVs and the technology is supposed to be more widely deployed by 2012 — just in time to meet Cali’s new green TV rule.

Vid-Biz: Playboy, RealNetworks, Puppet

Playboy CEO Says TV Business is Changed “For Good;” company expreiences a $2 million drop in domestic TV revenues, driven by shift to VOD. (paidContent)
RealNetworks Laying Off 4% of Staff; roughly 70 people of its 1,700 workforce. (CNET)
Puppet Walt Mossberg v. Ryan Block; a fight over the relevance of Flash makes this one perturbed puppet (NSFW). (Mr. Hogg’s YouTube Channel)

Orb Releases Mac Client; free app streams media (e.g. a live view from a webcam) to practically any device. (jkOnTheRun)
A Roadmap to OLED TVs? Reports peg LG creating 15-inch model this year, 20-inch next year and all the way to 40-inch panels in 2012. (The New York Times)

LG Staffer Says Apple OLED Notebooks Forthcoming

lg_logoIf this is true, then LG (s lg) takes the cake when it comes to leaking. No subtle hints, vague rumors, or supply chain speculation here. Instead, an actual LG employee has come out and baldly stated that the South Korea-based company will be responsible for producing a brand new upcoming notebook from Apple (s aapl). And no, this isn’t yet another installment of “Apple Netbook Whisperings,” in case you were wondering.
Far from being a netbook, the rumored device will sport a 15-inch screen, and will appear within months, if the source is to be believed. A 15-inch OLED screen is an expensive piece of equipment, as you know if you’ve been following the emerging tech’s development. For reference, consider that Sony’s 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TV is a staggering $2,499, and it doesn’t have a computer built-in to it. No doubt manufacturing costs have come down since the XEL-1 was created in 2007, but prices still haven’t come down to the point where Apple would be able to offer a 15-inch OLED notebook for anything less than $2,000. Read More about LG Staffer Says Apple OLED Notebooks Forthcoming