Android-Powered Google Glasses Coming This Year, Says NYT

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Android-powered Google glasses may seem like fantasy, but according to the New York Times, they’re real, and on track for a 2012 launch.

Citing “several Google employees familiar with the project,” Nick Bilton reports that the heads-up display will go on sale by the end of the year. It’ll have a 3G or 4G data connection built-in, and will cost somewhere between $250 and $600.

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Between Bilton’s report and earlier rumors from 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what these glasses will look like. Weintraub reported that the actual heads-up display is “only for one eye and on the side.” That pretty much lines up with Bilton’s account that the glasses will include “a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye.” In other words, these aren’t the kind of glasses where the lens is the actual display.

A low-resolution camera will be able to provide real time information about a user’s surroundings. The glasses will reportedly resemble Oakley Thumps, pictured here.

As for software, Weintraub wrote that users will navigate the HUD with a system of head tilting. Although the information will be based on existing Google services, such as Google Latitude and Google Goggles, it’ll be presented as augmented reality, on top of whatever’s happening in the real world, according to Bilton.

Still unclear, of course, is whether anyone would actually wear these things in public. Would I love to have a HUD to remind me about the names of people I’ve met, or to give me directions in the car without having to glance down at my phone? Absolutely. But as my editor Doug Aamoth pointed out, waiting for the contact lens version may be more socially acceptable.

MORE: High Tech Contact Lenses Could Pave the Way for Terminator-Style Electronic Displays