Google Glass 2 Release Date, Price, News and Rumors
Just when we thought Google’s Project Glass was winding up operations, new photos appearing in an FCC filing revamped the Glass conversation. The patents show both the outside design and inside layout and circuitry of a to be face-mounted computing wearable with the name “GG1”. So Google Glass 2.0 could actually be called Google Glass 1, which makes some sense since the first edition was “Google Explorer Edition” not actually GG1.
If the photos of Google’s filing are anything to take home, then a Google Glass 2.0 release date is very much throbbing and still in the works under Project Aura, Google’s wearables division. And it seems like Google is trying to do with Glass what it did with Lollipop—”humanize” it. Fortunately, it is now no secret how it looks like physically, the innards and circuitry, as well as how it may work and feel.
Not so fast, though. The first edition of Glass also looked too impressive to be true. What’s with the surreal head-navigation experience, rocking Google Now, and the killer, futuristic looks, and design?
Well, that’s until the ogling turned sour thanks to a trio of purchase killers: an outrageous $1,500 price tag, a painfully inadequate 45-minute battery life, and that “Glasshole” label that plainly castigated GG (and anyone sporting a pair) as a social misfit. And then there was the incapacitated 5MP camera that felt like it needed more light to behave.
Google Glass 2 Review: What We Know This Far
The sci-fi-like wearable out of Google’s futuristic labs goes deeper than the original version. Too bad there still won’t be a Glass for Fun (consumer edition), and the Explorer Edition has been shown out the door too. Instead, Glass for Work is what’s in the works—the Enterprise Edition—for businesses.
We sourced clues as to how that’ll span out and we got something for you. Here’s what to expect of Google’s Glass Edition 2.0 in 2016, when to get it, as well as find out the answer to perhaps the most burning question you might have: Is GG 2.0 worth it?
1. Design and Build
So how do the new pair look and fit? Quite well, in practice.
As seen on FCC’s website, GG 2.0 will look pretty much like “normal” eyewear. That’s despite an April 2015 v2 patent showing a rethought camera and prism set up, one which we think could’ve helped make three things happen. The hardware appeared to split, such that the camera and glass prism are each mounted on either side with the camera retaining the right-eye position and the glass prism mounted on the left.
The eyeglass frames also could fold up like ordinary glasses, and hopefully, take care of the bulk and portability issue of the original Google Glass. Both the camera and glass prism seemed “removable”, such that users could quickly crop out the cam if they are in a social situation that frowns upon a live recording camera—the number one detriment to the first edition of Glass.
Is the Explorer Edition making a comeback?
The latest patents, however, mirror the rather popular look of the Explorer Edition. One update is that the actual eyeglasses appear like they’ll be hovering from the device’s frame, which runs from ear to ear—just like in the Glass v1 edition. However, the monocle, snake-like design is somewhat malleable and takes the shape of your face. That should help with “holding on”, since this time around there are no nose pads to keep the glasses in place—on the face, sorry.
The other is rumored to be that users will no longer need the onboard battery behind the right ear. Instead, the GG 2.0 will only need to attach to a portable battery in the wearer’s pocket via a wire. This way you can carry as much power as you’d like and skew that 45-minute battery GG 1.0 had to offer. Simultaneously, users (ahem, enterprises and their personnel) can shake off a few grams off their face-mounted wearable experience at work. That is if users will fancy carrying a cable on them around.
To help move things uphill, Google has also appointed former Motorola CEO, Rick Osterloh, to head the new “Google hardware division” where Glass could make a comeback from a rather spectacular public failure in January 2015. With the new shake-up, the devices may finally ship from 2016.
2. Features and Highlights
Besides a rethought, better battery life and placement, the next-gen Glass 2 may be looking to the competition to add some exciting and long overdue features.
2.1 No more creepy “Invasive” audio signals
GG 1.0 wearers feared the device could cause them long-term harm as the gadget was said to be transmitting audio signals via a bone transmitter. Some sections even thought Google was on to mind control, which brewed quite some storm and saw it as a vile invasion of privacy and “freedom of thought.” That is reportedly corrected in the next version of Google Glass.
In contrast, a group of scientists in Germany is looking to tap into the same audio signaling function to help better unlock/lock security for personal devices such as smartphones. They argue each person’s bone vibration they seek to tap into is as unique as an individual’s fingerprint and can help identify owners about 97% of the time.
With biometric tech pushing up hard, this could make Google Glass (they used a modified set up, but basically a GG) even more useful for everyday use.
2.2 More Power
Despite acquiring Recon, the Google Glass rival, Intel may still get to have their chip run things for Google Glass 2.0. Also, the 2 GB of RAM will evidently be smoothing out performance in the latter edition given the good reception the bump in memory brew up among users when it was upgraded from just 1 GB for the Explorer Edition (XE).
2.3 Improved Prism?
The patent also shows a prism over the right eye side only. Apparently, users will be able to transmit screens across to the left side and be able to view the augmented reality on both sides—even without a prism over the left-eye glass. It appears Google will be tapping into the pioneering work of rivals for this—both Meta and Magic Leap, and even Microsoft’s Hololens.
2.4 Better Camera
Google Glass pioneer, Robert Scoble himself has admitted the poor 5MP camera led to the crash of the original Glass project. While no concrete information is coming out of Project Aura regarding the camera’s resolution, Scoble hinted in a past interview that something more vivid was in the making.
2.5 Speedier Wi-Fi
Google’s Glass 2 may come packing Wi-Fi capabilities to take advantage of speedier 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, which is an improvement over the slower 2.4 GHz previously experienced.
2.6 Sports Edition
Around the same time the Google Glass 2.0 surfaced, 9to5 Google reported it had seen what appeared like patents for a sturdier version of the standard Glass edition. It indicated that that particular version could be a “Sport” version. With rivals Recon and Meta headed to the sports arena soon, a Glass for Fun could actually be around the corner too. It could as well be the next up in the line of production.
2.7 There’s More
Google’s Glass 2 could do much more in future, too.
The new version of Google Glass may have a touch-sensitive panel which users can tap on to configure the inner workings of Glass v2.0.
Ultimately, Glass starter, Robert Scoble, hinted at coming changes to GG in an interview during the past Collision Conference in New Orleans.
For example, he explicitly called out some features and highlights of rivals Meta, Magic Leap and Hololens that should show up in a “useful” Google Glass version to make have “more utility to get over that cost.”
Microsoft’s later development, Hololens for example, can pull up displays everywhere and let you watch Netflix on a wall’s surface. Through a set of eyewear, it can as well overlay virtual, holographic images on the wearer’s point of view—something GG just could figure.
Scoble believes the first Glass edition had a small screen that did not help overlay virtual images on top of the real world. Also, he said people expected the high-tech, ultra-expensive gadget to help look up information about someone by just looking at them.”Because that is our expectation. We want to know what’s your name, what’s your latest tweet, what does Wikipedia say about you?” said Scoble adding, “We’d like to see that right when we look at you.”
These and more features could come to life on the next generation of GG and perhaps justify the hefty Google Glass price—though we prefer they cut it by more than half.
3. Software and Performance
There’s more GG related business taking place right now.
First, the last time we cared to check, there were about 50 Google Glass compatible apps. Those included newcomers, Shazam and Live Stream. More apps and developers are thinking of making use of the GG hardware and software compatibility.
Ian Shakil’s Google Glass-based start-up, Augmedix Inc. has successfully raised $17 million to further its aim. Interestingly, top hospitals contributed the millions, not the fashion world. San Francisco-based Augmedix is seeking to help doctors and healthcare workers use Google Glass to document a patient’s case in real-time and ultimately, according to Shakil, “rehumanize the doctor-patient relationship”.
Another Glass 2 use could come in the form of an app for the visually impaired to use to navigate smartphone screens. The Massachusetts researchers, led by the study’s author, Gang Luo, who is an associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, as well as an associate scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, this could work.
The app helps the visually impaired by projecting an image on the display of Google Glass. Users can just interact with the pictures by simply tapping on the stem of the GG device. Bluetooth is used to transfer the images to the Glass device from the app.
Interestingly, both new developments in software do not seem to show any love for the ordinary consumer. In fact, only the second case appears to come close to the average person—but is still not a consumer application, per se.
Is Glass 2 better than Google Glass 1?
The information out there so far points to Google having learned a lesson or more from the crash of the pilot edition of Glass. Comparing what we have and expect to make for Google Glass v2.0, the next Glass project is a definite revamp of the original, and rather controversial high-tech and despicably expensive face wearable.
And then there is Android…
Still, there is the unshakeable thought that Google will not miss the opportunity to show off Android for Work with the new pair of Glass. Surely, Google Glass 1.0 wasn’t exactly intuitive to anyone coming from iOS. In fact, it wasn’t an entirely immersive experience to iOS users until a few days of learning—how Android works, perhaps?
That is not an issue with current Android users, especially those already working with Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and later OS. With Google also playing hard in the wearables OS platform via Google Wear OS, the tech behemoth may be trying to push the message that Android is the now and future of the OS for smart gadgets.
In fact, the last updates made to the Google Glass Explorer Edition showed that Android may very well keep pace with powerful VR hardware. Some of the useful and intuitive functions include controlling augmented reality and settings by simple head movements. This is already at play, though. Meta and Magic Leap, and Hololens are already getting there. So Google Glass 2.0 cannot afford the luxury of being nearly as modest as the last pair of Google Glass.
While improved looks, aesthetics, battery life and innards can pull a crowd, the ultimate test for Google Glass 2 remains two areas: at checkout — Google Glasses price and practical application. And that burning desire to have a Glass for Fun edition for the real people. Much as it is targeted for the enterprise market, if Google Glass 2 prices for as much as $1,500 again, it may still be a bit off the grip for small and medium enterprises to afford a couple of pairs for their workforce. And then there is the question of whether it will help improve an enterprise’s bottom line or efficiency and drive business.
These remain to be seen in action when Google Glass 2.0 release date comes calling.
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