It seems like a fact of life — Japan always seems to get the cool stuff first. Take Epson’s Moverio BT-100 wearable display for instance — it launched in Japan last November, and we in the States are only now getting a chance to snap one up.
Users can browse the web (with what appears to be the dicey stock browser, yargh), view video content in both 2D and 3D thanks to a pair of qHD microprojectors, and hear it all with its built-in earbuds. And don’t worry too much about walking into the occasional wall — the visor is translucent, and pops off in case you really need your eyes for something.
The Moverio also plays nicely with the thousands of Android apps floating around out there, so those of who like to hurl porcine-hostile birds into orbit can do so on what Epson refers to as the equivalent of an 80-inch display.
The brains behind the operation are located in a separate control brick that also houses the device’s controls. With an integrated touchpad and the usual assortment of Android keys, users can take the device’s custom carousel UI for the proverbial spin and interact with apps. Extra bits like support for Flash and a microSD card sweeten the deal somewhat, but to say that the Moverio is a niche product is an understatement and its $699 price certainly doesn’t help.
They’ve put out a call for developers to whip up some novel apps for the Moverio, though it’s questionable how many people will take the time and effort to develop for the thing. I have a sneaking suspicion that they could come up short on that front, which is actually sort of a shame. As expensive and limited as the thing is, the right sort of app environment could turn it into something worth taking a second look at. So would a considerable price drop for that matter, but I’m not exactly holding my breath right now.