Earlier this year, Vuzix announced two new smart glasses, the monocular M400C and Shield corporate model. After months of manufacturing, the M400C is ready to ship. We also have access to new technical details, including the all-important price.
Vuzix also recently announced that it will showcase the platform for an upcoming potential consumer model.
A closer look at the M400C
Vuzix announced the M400C in January. At less than a fifth of a pound, the model is a lighter version of the M400, with the M400 being wireless and the M400C connecting to an external computer. Being connected to an external device makes it easier to manage the product and means that the device does not have an on-board battery.
It’s not only lighter, it’s also potentially more durable. The M400C was drop tested to six feet, while its heavier and more expensive older sibling was only tested up to three feet. While this doesn’t matter much to casual XR users, it’s a big deal for the use cases and customers Vuzix works with. (Casual XR users, don’t go anywhere yet).
The monocular design clips onto a goggle frame or the same accessories as the original M400, including helmets and headbands. The device has built-in control buttons and touchpad, but can also be controlled via voice commands or software on the connected computer.
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The glass provides an unobtrusive yet accessible display, while the exterior of the frame houses an autofocus HD camera capable of scanning targets, still photography, and streaming video. The frame also houses a speaker and microphone for recording, audio listening, or two-way communication between the wearer and a remote party.
“The M400C is the ideal replacement for external or portable monitors, cameras or other recording devices, or two-way audio devices. We are excited to add this product to our existing family of smart eyewear solutions,” Vuzix CEO and President Paul Travers said in a press release.
This model in the Vuzix ecosystem
When we spoke with Travers in January, we didn’t yet know the price of the M400C. We now know that the smart glasses are shipping to customers in the US, Canada, UK, EU, and Japan for $1,300, almost half the price of the original M400. This leaves more budget for attachments and accessories.
Although Vuzix has considered making its even lighter AR glasses available to the public, the M400C still has to be purchased through the company – you won’t find it on department store shelves.
The Vuzix Ultralite
At the time of writing, the company has further announced that it will be showcasing its upcoming Ultralite eyewear platform at CES this year. I’ve gotten mad at Vuzix in the past for sneaking ads past me while showing them off at the Consumer Electronics Show, but this time it’s appropriate.
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“Ultralite” is the name of a project that Vuzix has been showing tantalizing prototypes of for years. It’s the kind of AR glasses we’ve always wanted. Well, it’s a monocular display. But, they look and feel like a standard pair of glasses.
“Vuzix is leading the charge to realize the dream of stylish and fashionable smart glasses for the wider market, and it’s happening right now,” Travers said in a statement.
Do you remember what fraction of a pound the M400C carries? Ultralite weighs about half that, and they’re cordless. They’re called ‘smartphone accessories’, so at least initially they’ll probably offer things like head-up display mirroring and maybe some basic space apps, but it’s still super cool.
Anyway, we still don’t have a roadmap (or pricing) for the Ultralite. And, it looks like the glasses will be offered as OEM. That means you probably won’t be buying it directly from them, but from another tech company – probably your cellular provider, similar to how Nreal rolled out Light. But it’s still exciting.
Don’t underestimate it
Shipping the M400C is exciting for the company. The move on the Ultralite is exciting for consumers. There aren’t many companies that play both sides like that. Honestly, it’s super exciting that it’s Vuzix. If anyone is going to give us full-size color screen AR glasses in a comfortable and stylish form factor that can also stop a bullet, it’s probably going to be them.
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