Computer-Replacing Shades Are Still a Long Way Off

How we like to dream. And when we dream, we like to dream big. That’s why so many people are convinced that driverless cars are right around the corner. They fully expect to no longer need a driver’s license with the next 2 to 3 years. Some of those same people also expect to be able to ditch their computers and tablets in favor of a pair of high-tech sunglasses.

The point of this post is to break the news that computer-replacing shades are still a long way off. They might even be further away than driverless cars, which probably will not be a daily reality for at least a couple more decades. Our dreams of driverless cars and computer-replacing shades are, for the time being, just that: dreams.

Remember Google Glass

Technology companies have been tinkering with sunglasses for decades. Do not misunderstand; it is a very worthwhile pursuit. If all the technology we now carry in our laptops and smartphones could be easily translated to a pair of glasses that were not cumbersome to wear, it would be life changing. But we are nowhere near realizing that goal.

Remember Google Glass? When Google first announced their revolutionary eyewear way back in 2011, they fully expected to have a marketable product ready for sale in a couple of years. We are now eight years on, and Google Glass is still not ready for prime time.

Google discontinued its original design in 2015 in pursuit of an enterprise edition. In fact, they just released Glass Enterprise Edition 2 earlier this year (2019). But by Google’s own admission, their high-tech specs are not intended to be a consumer product with widespread adoption. They are intended for a small core of enterprise users looking for specific functionality.

Sunglasses Do One Thing Well

Designing a pair of glasses that could replace a computer is a monumental task for the simple fact that computers do so much. Contrast your laptop or tablet with the basic function of sunglasses. The fact is that sunglasses do one thing, and they do it very well: protect the eyes against direct sunlight and UV rays.

The popularity of sunglasses rests primarily in their simplicity. Designers like Utah-based Olympic Eyewear make a living by capitalizing on the simplicity of creating protective eyewear that also looks good. Computers and tablets are not so simple.

Think about the sheer number of things you do with your devices. If you don’t use a tablet or laptop, think about all the things you do with your smartphone. You check e-mail, engage in social media, watch streamed video, get the news, chat with friends, and on and on.

You smartphone owners use your devices to take tons of photographs. You use the built-in flashlight to find the keyhole on the front door on a dark night. You use your smartphones to find your way around an unfamiliar town, make reservations at your favorite restaurant, and schedule an appointment with a hairdresser.

Glasses Aren’t Big Enough

The fact remains that a pair of glasses is just not big enough to accommodate the level of function your smartphone, tablet, or laptop already possesses. Even if you were to buy a pair of high-tech shades, they would not eliminate the need for all of those other devices. And until they do, tech-savvy sunglasses are nothing but an expensive toy.

There may come a day when sunglasses can protect the eyes and do everything your computer does. But that day isn’t going to arrive any time soon. It is at least decades away, if not further.

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