Five years ago, it was easier for a company to sneak a revolutionary tech product onto the market. Today the whole world is nervously watching. Anything that looks like it could be the next big thing attracts a crowd of copycats. Take, for example, Google Glass. Unproven though it is (not to mention months away from release), Google’s search rival in China, Baidu, is reportedly prepping its own Glass competitor.
Google does search ... Baidu does search. Google is making smart glasses ... you get the picture.
So brace yourself for Baidu Eye. It sounds like a late April Fools’ Day joke, but – for better or worse – it’s apparently all too real. According to Sina.com, the product is about as original as you’d expect. We’re talking glasses with an LCD display, voice control, image recognition, and bone-conducted audio.
Yep, we’re looking at a full-on Google Glass knockoff.
To the last detail
The report’s details only accentuate the slavish copying. Using your voice to control the glasses and search the web? Check. Gesture control? Baidu totally has that too.
Baidu is apparently working with Qualcomm to extend the glasses’ battery life to 12 hours. So it sounds like Baidu Eye will sport a Qualcomm processor of some sort.
Baidu is supposedly developing the product’s software on “an open platform.” Wouldn’t it be brilliantly ironic if that open platform were a forked version of Android?
A new game
It's easy to laugh at the brazen clone job here, but Baidu probably sees the potential for a new generation of search (and advertising). Apple's breakthrough products of the last decade, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, beat the hell out of slow-reacting competitors (see BlackBerry, Palm, Microsoft ...).
Apparently the new thing is copying the next big thing before it's too late ... and before anyone knows for sure whether it will be the next big thing.