When Google first announced the release of the Glass project, the internet’s imagination and excitement went wild. Virtual reality has a special sort of ring to it, and the leaps and bounds it has made in recent years has brought both hardware and software closer to making that elusive concept, well, a reality.
Glass would take the same sort of innovations and apply them in the real-world, a visually and sonically augmented reality that would make everyday life much easier and more accessible. In addition, it would have far-reaching implications in industries ranging from healthcare to construction. But you’ve probably heard all of this in some form or other. You’ve also probably heard that in January of 2015, Google stopped producing and selling the Glass. However, this doesn’t mean that the project is dead. Enter Glass 2.0.
Google is still confident that augmented reality is the way of the future. So the company is working on a second iteration of the project. In fact, some statements from project leaders seem to imply that a third generation might be in sight as well, at least conceptually. But as far as production goes, we’re squarely within Glass 2.0 range.
Expectations for the updated edition are high, but they haven’t been stoked quite to fever pitch. It seems as though Google has learned a bit from the lukewarm reception of the first edition. When the Glass was first released, it was as a special ‘Explorer’ edition, which was marketed specifically to people willing to test out the device and let Google know what bumps to avoid moving forward. Indeed, the first models were very buggy, and complaints continued throughout the project. However, these complaints have given Google plenty to work off of. The company has never been shy about releasing radical projects before they’re completely finished. The new model promises several improvements.
Google Glass 2.0 will see a processor chip built by Intel, a replacement for the first edition Texas Instruments piece. The Intel processor promises, among other things, updated battery life. Battery life consistently scored low on Google Explorer reviews. In addition, price cutting will be a major focus for the Glass 2.0 release. While Google does tout the Glass’ application in industries that require people to use both hands, as the wearable device can present information without engaging the hands, the device is meant to be “a crossover device for consumers.” And to cross over successfully, it’s got to drop off at least several hundred bucks from the $1,500 asking price.
One of the consistent criticisms of Google Glass is that the device simply isn’t stylish. Fact is, few will purchase Glass unless it looks good. That’s why Google partnered with Italian eyewear maker Luxottica. The firm is looking to create Google Glass models that bear a stronger resemblance to already acceptable lens styles. If the project is to succeed, it’s got to look elegant.
Hopefully, a more European aesthetic will bring the refinement necessary to make Glass a hot topic with celebrities and scientists alike. Once the improved processor, expanded battery life, and retooled design come together, Glass 2.0 will be good to go. Only time will tell if it meets with more success than its predecessor.
Written by Patrick Charuza