Wearable tech is the focus of quite a few companies these days. Samsung recently passed a design patent through the Korean patent file system. Intel is investing in companies that make sports glasses, too. Google Glass is obviously the big player here, forging the way as these companies make their augmented-reality glasses. Google announced the next phase of the Glass project today, and we're pretty excited about it.
It was reported last July that Google would open up more space for people to join the Google Glass Explorers program. They officially confirmed that rumor today with an announcement on the Google Glass G+ page. Starting today, all of the current Glass Explorers will be given three invitations to ask friends to join the program. The invitees will then have the ability to purchase their own Google Glass unit and have it shipped to them, wherever they are in the world. On top of that, current Glass users will have the option to trade-in their current Glass unit for an updated version of the hardware. This is a one-time upgrade that won't cost Explorers a thing.
We want to say "thank you" for all the amazing feedback we've been getting, so later this year, all Explorers will have a one-time option to swap out their existing Glass for a new one. This hardware update will allow your Glass to work with future lines of shades and prescription frames, and we'll also include a mono earbud.
The new hardware will be updated to support some prescription lenses and prescription glasses frames. Google is going to unveil these new glasses and frames soon. They will come with a mono ear bud, so there's that. We're hearing that Google is moving up their manufacturing timetable, too. The consumer launch of Google Glass next year is on track.
If you know someone who has Glass already and you want to get in on the action, ask them if they have an extra invite they can send your way. We'll be honest; we would love it if we could get our hands on Glass. It feels like we've all been waiting a long time. Whether you get in now or you have to wait until the public release, though, the wait is almost over.