Motorola's Golden-I: The Coolest Headset Computer Yet

I've followed head-mounted devices (HMDs) for a long time - and Motorola is building the first one that I think will have broad-based appeal.

Head-mounted devices (HMDs) have been around for some time, steadily evolving from helmets (literally big, heavy helmets) to what I'm writing about here - Motorola's very exciting Golden-I product, a prototype of which I recently tried out at Motorola's Channel Partner Expo in Las Vegas. Now, HMDs are not for everyone. Historically, there's been the size/weight issue noted above, limited functionality, very high cost, very limited battery life, and the nerd factor, among other problems. But the appeal is undeniable - there are many jobs involving repair, maintenance, the military, some medical and construction applications, and many more where such is the perfect approach. And, maybe, just maybe, there are more commercial, horizontal applications for wearable computers as well, especially as the products become more general-purpose, easy to use, cost-effective, accommodating, and socially acceptable.

The latter has been a major challenge as the nerd factor is pretty high. After all, what would you think if you saw someone at an airport wearing a sci-fi hat, issuing commands via voice or perhaps gesturing in the air? But Motorola's stylish new Golden-I may change a few minds, with a sleek industrial design, light weight, and out-of-the-box usability with a terrific 800x600 display (from microdisplay industry leader Kopin, no less), speaker-independent voice recognition (worked the first time for me, even in a noisy exhibit hall), and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity (wireless keyboard, anyone?). The battery is easily swappable, and the TI OMAP processor very appropriate - but there are other good choices here as well; imagine the guts of a modern handset, and you get the idea.

OK, we won't all be running around with a computer on our head anytime soon. But progress here, as evidenced by Golden-I, is impressive, and I'm keeping my eye on this end of the mobile-computing space.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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