Recon Jet goes up against Google Glass, aimed at outdoorsy crowd

by: Andrew GrushMay 16, 2013


Google might be one of the first players to have thrown their chip into the pot, but the Mountain View giant isn’t the only company betting on wearable computing. One of the other players is Recon, who took the opportunity yesterday to unveil their new HUD sunglasses, the Recon Jet.

These unique sunglasses might be a bit hefty at 60 grams, but they are still very sexy and quite a bit more rugged than Google’s own wearable computer. Obviously they are targeted at the extreme sports and outdoorsy types as opposed to the casual wearer, providing a permanent sunglasses design that makes them less practical for indoor and low-light usage.

So what kind of tech to these babies boast? The Jet features an unspecified dual-core processor, dedicated graphics, ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a microphone, GPS, HD camera, and a “comprehensive suite of sensors”. According to Recon’s press statement, this makes their solution a standalone device that has capabilities similar to what you’d find in mobile devices like tablets or smartphones.

As for the software side of things, the Jet runs on Android 4.2 with a custom UI and will feature an open SDK that is expected to arrive for developers sometime this summer.

You might think that Recon Jet is simply a clone of Google Glass aimed at athletes, but it is important to note that this isn’t Recon’s first rodeo. The company has been making HUD devices, such as specialized ski goggles, since 2008. The Jet is the company’s most ambitious implementation yet, though.

The company is currently demonstrating the device at Google I/O and already has native apps that allow video streaming, smartphone connectivity and Facebook integration.

Besides being targeted for outdoor use, another major difference between Google Glass and the Recon Jet, is that this headset is modular in design. This means that you can swap out broken lenses, replace batteries and other components. It also means that if you bust your frames during your epic outdoor adventures, you can simply buy new ones and pop in the electronics from your old set.

Right now, the Recon Jet is a prototype product, just like Glass. There is currently no set price for the headset, nor can we say for sure when it will arrive in commercial form.


The wearable computing revolution

This is just the beginning ladies and gents! We stand at a crucial turning point in mobile tech, arguably as big of a change as when the smartphone first started making noticeable waves in the early 2000s. With the Jet Recon and Google Glass headsets we look at two very different approaches to glasses design. And that’s just scratching the surface on what else is out there.

This is great because that’s exactly how things started with the smartphone. Back in 1992, the IBM Simon was the only smartphone, but soon enough new designs and approaches started to arrive that targeted to different kinds of users. The same thing seems to be slowly happening in the wearable computing world as well.

What do you think of the Recon Jet, compared to the more casual-oriented Google Glass? How would YOU design a wearable computer if given the chance? Conversely, do you feel that wearable glasses and watches are merely a fad that will eventually lose steam?

Show Press Release

Recon Instruments Reveals Recon Jet Heads-up Display Integrated with High-Performance Sunglasses
Groundbreaking Product Revealed at Google I/O

15th May 2013, San Francisco – Recon Instruments, the award winning technology company behind the world’s first consumer Heads-up Display (HUD) for sports, is proud to be showing an early version of Recon Jet, their hotly anticipated high-performance HUD at Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, which starts today.

Recon Jet delivers information instantly, effortlessly and unobtrusively via a microcomputer and high-resolution widescreen display. All this is mounted on a precision-engineered, fashionable pair of sunglasses on par with the best in the world.

Recon has pioneered the miniaturization of affordable wearable technology since launching their first product, for snowsports, three years ago. With Recon Jet, the company is launching a faster, smaller, and more powerful new platform. ReconJet includes: a dual core processor, dedicated graphics, Wi-Fi, ANT+, Bluetooth, GPS, HD camera, and a comprehensive suite of sensors. This makes Recon Jet a connected, standalone computing solution comparable in capability to a tablet or smartphone.

At Google I/O, Recon is demonstrating the open nature of their platform, showing native apps running on Recon Jet including live activity tracking, video streaming, web and smartphone connectivity and even Facebook integration. Recon’s open SDK empowers developers to create native apps for any activity to run on Recon Jet. The company is already working with some of the top fitness companies and communities to develop on the platform.

Hamid Abdollahi, CTO of Recon Instruments said: “We are excited to be showingRecon Jet at Google I/O. Since we started the company in 2008, we have developed HUDs with a purpose; to relay instant, activity specific, user defined information effortlessly to the user’s eye. This philosophy is inherent in Jet which marries a powerful open platform, a widescreen display and high-performance polarized optics to offer what we believe is a great value proposition.”

  • sai

    looks sick as hell, but i duno if it could beat the google ecosystem at launch.gota see them and how theyll interact with my current electronics i own.

  • Jiří Novák

    oh well… recon can take my money now :-D

  • Filip Justin

    It looks much cooler than GLASS and it seems much more interesting with the additional sensors..

  • Still makes you look like a twat

  • More streamlined, less bulk, minus the old 1990’s sports glasses design and they might be onto something.

    I’d rather a visor type of setup that has a flip-down viewing glass.

    Then you could have better realestate for layout of the vomponents and shielding from HF brain fry.

    Really, wearing crap with electro-magnetic fields upside your head all day has got to be not so good for the grey matter.

    People freak out about a couple minutes a day with the mobile.

    I would go for the visor type though…..

    • Great idea for another competitor to investigate. Remember the add-on sunglasses market for flip-ups and clip-ons – I still keep an inexpensive pair of flip-ups in the car for when I need something quick. Also doesn’t tie me down to a specific pair of frames, easily migrates.

  • AnyManCan

    Why in the world are they building this an a snap-on accessory? Build the frames, or as replacement temples for existing glasses, with an adhesive screen attaching the display to the lens. Just a thought…

  • Recon looks like a viable alternative to Glass with a possible extended set of features, provided there is software development to support the hardware additions, Too bad Recon is a privately traded company, any funds have an investment window into this alternate player to Google?