In October of 2016, an ambitious project called Vue: Your Everyday Smart glasses went live on Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000. The projects description named these the world’s first pair of smart glasses designed for everyday use. Over 10,000 people wanted to see this project come to life, and pledged more than $2,000,000 to back Vue.
The release date for Vue smart glasses was supposed be July of 2017. However, I doubt I’d be writing this in 2019 if that had really been the case. The latest promise by Vue is that the glasses will be shipped in March of 2019 (Which was later delayed. Again)
What are Vue Smart Glasses?
According to the Vue website, Vue Smart glasses are unique for functioning as normal glasses at a basic level. This means that if you’re blind as a bat like me, you no longer have to choose between the latest tech and seeing where you’re going! If sunglasses are more your style, you can grab a pair with tinted lenses as well. Just good luck explaining why you still have them on in the evening.
Aside from letting you see, Vue glasses have a wide range of features to make your life more comfortable. First and foremost, they function as headphones that don’t actually cover your ears, but are still only heard by you. This is great if you want to listen to music or take GPS directions while biking or navigating heavy traffic.
Vue glasses connect to your phone through an app (iOS and Android supported). This allows you to also take calls with them and skip tracks when you’re listening to music. For all the fitness nerds out there, the glasses can also track your activity and set health reminders. They’re also water resistant for when you work up a sweat.
The battery on these glasses lasts about a week if you occasionally pop them into the charging case they come with. See also the promo video by Vue describing features and use cases for the glasses.
Where is the Vue team now?
As you do with a lot of kickstarter projects, Vue’s shipping date has been postponed numerous times. Even so, the Vue team keeps updating their backers regularly. The last update was on the 1st of January 2019 (as of 25.01.2019). This one goes into detail about some tests they have been running on how to best assemble the glasses. It seems the compact size is proving to be an obstacle for the team.
In the update, they show us how the adhesive they have decided to use keeps the frames together. How much stock you put into waterproof adhesive used to hold together electronics… well, since I’m no expert on t, that’s up to you to decide.
They finish off their update saying they are testing their production lines and promise to try and push out the first units before the Chinese New Year, which is on the 5th of February. Their app is also almost completed and will appear in the respective app stores shortly. However no concrete time span is given for this.
When will the glasses reach the backers?
The skeptical part of me wants to say: “Who knows?” , but the official delivery date set on their website where you can pre-order your own Vues is March of 2019. Of course, in an interview with The Verge, the Vue team had promised to release an initial batch of 1,000 glasses in October of 2018.
However their release dates have so far seemed contradictory to the information they provide in their updates concerning the progress of the product. It can always be chalked up to inexperience of assembly lines and manufacturing. Having no experience in any of that myself I believe it best for you to draw your own conclusions.
Let’s hope that I’m wrong and everyone who pre-ordered their Vues has a package awaiting them in March!
The Price of Vue
So naturally you will ask: “How much do I need to shill out for my very own pair of Vue?” Well! A nifty pair of glasses will cost you $249, and will include a charging case. If you wish, additional charging cases can be purchased for $59. You can also get your very own Vue t-shirt for only $29. (Ironically, the most overpriced item in the store.)
For all the promised functionality and style, Vue is not at all too steeply priced. However it does have some competition, which is referenced also in the comments of Vue’s Kickstarter page. For only $199,95, you can buy Bose sunglasses, which enable you to listen to music, much like Vue’s musical capabilities were advertised. Of course they have the added benefit of being a product that actually exists.
Of course as with anything that people sink a lot of money into, only to get nothing back, Vue has been getting a lot of unhappy backers in their comments. People are rightfully annoyed that a project that launched in 2016 (with supposedly two years of legwork already behind it) has so far failed to deliver and keeps pushing back the date when the glasses are delivered. Some are making note how Vue is now, in 2019, becoming less of a novelty item and pointing out the cheaper competitors, like Bose, who are appearing on the market.
There are still those, though, who support Vue and believe in them. This is mostly due to the frequent updates that the Vue team still posts that gives an illusion of momentum. However a lot of backers have noticed that the updates fail to give concrete time frames for anything final.
Aaron Rowley, co-founder at Vue has admitted in his The Verge interview that they had no assembly or production experience when going into this and overestimated the complexity of the product. Sadly this does not give the peace of mind to people who invested large sums of money into this product.
Though revolutionary in 2016, Vue’s delays are starting to remove its relevance from the market. Backers are losing faith in Vue’s promises, but the estimated delivery date for the pre-orders still inspires a semblance of hope. They website looks sleek and professional and makes you wonder “Surely, they wouldn’t lie on their own website?”.
But at the end of the day, only time will tell if Vue Smart glasses are a scam, a long-awaited success or just a team of people biting off more than they can chew.
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