New Google Glass Design Coming in 2015


As technology writers across the nation file stories on the recent news that the Google Glass program is all but dead, an undisclosed source familiar with the project has reported to the Wall Street Journal that not only is Glass still very much alive, but a new headset is in the works, with a 2015 unveil planned.

Technical details are scant, but rumors suggest that Google has been in talks with Intel and that the next Glass model will include an Intel processor, replacing Glass’s current processor which is made by Texas Instruments. Intel is largely seen as a chip manufacturer for PCs and servers. The company missed the boat on mobile device processors, where Qualcomm and Samsung now reign supreme. As a result, Intel has been working hard to position itself as the defacto processor manufacturer for the anticipated wearables market. Ex-Palm and Apple veteran Mike Bell has been hired to lead Intel’s push into wearables. Under his leadership, the company developed an x86 processor called Quark that is ultra-small and light on power consumption that many speculate will make its way into the next Glass model.

The upgraded Google Glass model is also rumored to be getting an extended battery life, something Glass desperately needs if it is ever going to win over already reluctant consumers. The current Glass model has a battery life of one day, but if high power features like video streaming are used, battery life plummets to just a few hours. The question is: can Google turn around the public’s souring perception of Glass with a new chip and an improved battery life? Probably not. Neither of these enhancements address the staggering $1,500 price tag, the underlying privacy concerns, and self-image compromises that are said to be holding consumers back from Glass.

However, one could argue that the Google Glass failure has been a marketing failure, rather than a development failure. Although Google Glass units are widely available, both directly from Google and on eBay, Google has yet to release the device from its “beta testing” status. The company that hopes consumers will embrace its new device has let it escape into the general public while taking very few precautions to control or steer public perception, a misstep that shows how disengaged Google’s marketing team is, compared to its chief rival, Apple.

In 2012, two Glass wearing wing-suit skydivers live streamed a freefall out of a blimp and onto the roof of the 2012 Google I/O developer conference. This is how Google introduced its developer community to Glass.  When the company launched Glass, they launched it to developers, not consumers, in hopes that an ecosystem of compelling apps would quickly follow. This did not happen. The Google store now advertises “over 40 apps” that are accessible through the Glass platform, compared to the 1.3 million available in the Android app ecosystem. There is speculation that developers did not come because there was no consumer demand, and because initial guidelines prevented developers from adding advertisements or charging consumers for Glass apps.

To date, Google has yet to launch Glass to the public, to the consumers that it hopes will eventually adopt the new wearable.  Other than some artsy portraits of millennials wearing Glass and a few POV videos that convey the general idea behind Glass, Google has made very few efforts to show people what’s cool about it or why they should be interested in it. Now, without the support of a compelling app store, Google must decide whether they will scrap the project altogether, or properly launch it to an increasingly disinterested public.

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