Last time we got an up close look at the X1 Smart Glasses from ThirdEye Gen, they were showcasing a beta version of the product at CES 2018. This time around, at CE Week 2018 in New York City this week, the company has with them a production version of their product and a fresh retail partnership to boot.
The ThirdEye X1 Smart Glasses are a take on the augmented reality glasses that resembles something of a Microsoft Hololens, but on a much more mobile and streamlined package. The production-ready model felt great on the head, the padding was comfortable and the nose guards rested easy across the bridge of my nose. Additionally, the viewing experience felt a little more refined and smoother than the previous iteration that I experienced just a few months ago.
ThirdEye began shipping their product to commercial customers in February. The product is available for both commercial and consumer use and retails for $999. ThirdEye Founder Nick Cherukuri, who was on hand at CE Week walking attendees through demos of the product, explained that his team has received tremendous feedback from both users of the product as well as the developers ThirdEye works with to generate apps and content for the smart glasses. In particular, he noted that ThirdEye has received far greater interest from consumers than they anticipated, resulting in increased demand for the product.
Additionally, ThirdEye has seen partnerships form with some industries it never imagined would show interest in the X1 smart glasses. Airlines, for example, may seek to use the smart glasses as a way to replace in-seat entertainment through streaming apps and more. That said, industries like healthcare and field support techs have been the biggest supporters of the product.
The X1 Smart Glasses have only been available through ecommerce platforms and the ThirdEye website to date. But the company announced this week that it has worked out a partnership with b8ta to get the smart glasses in their stores throughout the country.
At b8ta stores in San Francisco, New York, and Austin, visitors will be able to get their hands on the X1 glasses and take ThirdEye’s AR/MR software platforms for a spin. B8ta, who we’ve covered. Since their launch a few years ago, is a technology retail company that showcases the latest consumer tech products in a format that feels familiar to the everyday shopper. But their business model essentially flips the traditional retail model on its head, giving brands like ThirdEye the opportunity to get into a brick and mortar store without having to jump through so many hoops.
The impact of the retail demo is something that we’ve talked a lot about recently, and this move by ThirdEye is just the latest example of the staying power of brick and mortar stores. The model itself may (and must) change, but the idea of physically interacting with a product prior to buying it is too invaluable to ever truly go away.