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North Focals 2.0 glasses will have a camera – that could be a problem

The Focals by North smart glasses were a marked and welcome departure from failed AR specs like Google Glass, partially due to the absence of a front facing camera.

Realising that Google’s before-its-time effort had freaked plenty of people out thanks to its eye-level lens, North went for a simpler approach for its own smart specs, focused around displaying smartphone notifications.

However, North now appears to be moving away from its back-to-basics heads-up display with the Focals 2.0 glasses, which will seemingly have a video camera of their own. The apparent confirmation came from the company’s CEO Steven Lake, who posted a social media video (via SlashGear), which looks as if it was shot using the second-gen smart glasses.

The company has been keeping details of its Focals 2.0 glasses close to its chest after withdrawing the originals from sale last December. At the time, the company’s CTO Matthew Bailey called version 2.0 an “incredible step forward,” which will include a new 10x improved retinal display.

In a blog post in December the company added: “We’re moving beyond a heads-up display that offers instant access to your digital life toward a future where computing moves into the world around us. And it’s going to ship next year.”

Related: Five lessons Apple could learn from Google Glass

In our review of the of the original Focals, we gave the specs a solid 3.5 stars out of 5, while pointing out the display required some improvement. We enjoyed the way notifications were projected into the eyeline, while appreciating the design and fit.

In my own review, I concluded: “Focals could be AR’s route into the mainstream. They deliver pertinent information to a non-invasive heads-up display, providing a well-thought-out interface, offering Alexa support too. They have a premium build, stylish design and support for prescriptions. With further display refinement, the company could be onto something.”

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