What do you get if you combine a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a 2,100mAh battery? Throw in a number of sensors, a touchpad and a 5MP camera, mount the components onto a head-frame and you are somewhere close to Google Glass, but you’ll need a sprinkling of magic fairy dust, err, Google’s special sauce in the form of software. Glass is Google’s original Project X wearable piece of technology, a showcase for what could be done with voice and some touch control and it’s being picked on by the media because it hasn’t become a consumer success. I am reading reports saying that it isn’t a consumer hit because there are only around 100 applications available for it and some laughably compare this with the Apple library of over a million applications. That comparison is similar to using gaffer tape (as a translation for my stateside readers, duct tape) wrapped around an iPhone and stuck to your head, calling it iGlass.
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Google Glass is a prototype: developers’ complaints about battery life and poor sales completely miss the point. Glass is nor was ever envisaged as a consumer product. Only a very select few people will ever found a Glass under their Christmas Stocking because the technology is imperfect, experimental or in beta, oh and probably too expensive as an impulse buy. If you want Google Glass, then you’ll know why you want it. We’ve seen some designers incorporate Glass into a more elegant design and we’ve seen manufacturers linked to a Glass 2.0 project, perhaps for this year. Intel appear to be the favorite: Intel’s wearable track record shows that they develop projects in conjunction with a known designer. Intel produce the electronics and the designer, well designs something that doesn’t look like it belongs on a Borg drone. A partnership between Google (for the software), Intel (for the hardware) and a world leading designer (for the frame design) could catapult the next generation of Glass right back into the limelight.
But more to the point, the Google Glass that we’re seeing on the streets at the moment is an early version of Google’s vision. The naysayers don’t seem to understand this. So perhaps the image I’ve attached at the end of the document will highlight my point, they do say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is the Google Sooner, which is a very early Android prototype. How early? 2006 early. It has a QWERTY keyboard and a small, low-resolution screen. Now I used classic BlackBerry devices in 2006 and I would have certainly taken a look at the newcomer, but with hindsight, the G1 that emerged was quite removed from the Sooner, and follow up devices have strayed further from the original path. I expect Glass to be the same.