Sony's super-frumpy SmartEyeglass goggles are $840 Google Glasses

Apple's also design some 'puter-goggles – cheap slip-ons

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Pics Do you like Google Glass, but wish the $1,500 headset was more cumbersome, less discreet, and a little easier on the wallet? Well, Sony has just the thing for you (and perhaps only you).

The Japanese electronics giant has announced an augmented reality headset that will ship in March. Dubbed SmartEyeglass, the nerdy-looking hardware will be made available to developers in March at a cost of £620 or US$840.

The company said the SmartEyeglass will offer an "augmented reality experience," placing digital information in the user's field of vision. Like Google Glass, the unit will consist of a set of glasses mounted with a camera and display unit that projects information into the wearer's view.

Unlike Google's ill-fated device, the Sony unit will be equipped with a wearable controller the user carries. The company is taking orders for the device in Germany and the UK with shipping set to take place on March 13 to 19. Availability in the US and Japan is also planned.

Sony said the headset will link up with devices running Android 4.4 and later, and will offer 150 minutes of battery life. The headset will weigh 77 grams and will sport Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Sony headset will look to succeed where Google Glass failed. The Chocolate Factory puts its tech-specs program on ice earlier this year after the program met an icy reception; users of the headset were dubbed "Glassholes."

Apple, meanwhile, has been found to be hard at work on its own headset. The company on Tuesday was listed as the winner of a patent for a headset adaptor that would work with a mobile device.

Apple's headset device

Apple would have you slide in the display from your phone

Like Google's Cardboard gear, the Apple headset is designed to use a mobile device (such as an iPhone or iPod Touch) as the display hardware for a VR headset.

The user would slide their mobile device into a headset which would act as an adaptor, adjusting the screen to function as a virtual reality display.

Apple hasn't given any indication that it is seeking to commercialize the device, however, and it bears noting that not every patent filing will result in a retail product. ®

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