Intel invests in Google Glass competitor

Recon Instruments' latest product is a rugged version of Google Glass.

Recon Instruments, the Google Glass competitor that sells devices marketed to the sports crowd and professionals, has received $4 million from Intel Capital, the investment and mergers and acquisition arm of Intel Corp.

The funding will be used for product development, marketing and a global sales expansion. Recon will also have access to Intel Capital's technology and its manufacturing and operations expertise.

Recon's wearable computing is designed and marketed to athletes and activities-based professionals such as doctors and firefighters. And unlike Google, the company already has its wearable computing tech on the market.

To date, the company has shipped 50,000 units of its "Snow" model, which is designed to fit into ski goggles. Recon partnered with different goggle manufacturers such as Oakley to incorporate its wearable computing tech into the Snow model.

Its latest product, the Recon Jet, is a solo effort. The Recon Jet sunglasses model— equipped with built-in sensors including GPS, HD video camera, microphone and speakers—is being marketed to endurance athletes such as cyclists, triathletes and runners. Think of it as a more rugged version of Google Glass.

It's a niche product that will face more competition—at least at the onset—from other athletic data-driven products such as Garmin GPS watches and other bluetooth and  ANT+ equipped devices than from Google.

Pre-orders for Recon Jet will begin shipping in November 2014. Regular production shipments will begin in February 2014.

Photos: Recon Instruments

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