A new version of Google Glass Enterprise Edition has now been spotted at Geekbench, shedding light on at least a few details of what may be in store with its eventual release. The wearable is listed as running what is likely a customized variation of Android 8.1 Oreo and shown to have 3GB of RAM backing up a Snapdragon 710 chipset. Built on a 10nm process node, that SoC is listed with a base clock of 1.21GHz and a total of four cores.
Background: The previous Enterprise Edition Glass was built on the Intel Atom platform and came with just 2GB of RAM. For storage, the original design offered 32GB. Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 n/ac provided connectivity options while location services operated over GPS and Glonass. The camera included with that hardware was a 5-megapixel snapper and a 780mAh battery powered everything. None of those specifications are made apparent by this particular benchmark but the new AR gadget was previously spotted passing through the FCC. Based on the documentation associated with that listing, the company hasn't come a long way in terms of hardware design. The new device was shown to have boosted the battery up to a 3.08Wh 800mAh unit and to bolster connectivity to support dual-band operation across Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac protocols. Dual-mode Bluetooth 5.0 was shown to be included as well.
The original Google Glass — sold as the Google Glass Explorer Edition — cost end-users around $1500 and was a commercial failure. So it isn't at all unlikely that the new wearable will only be sold to the business sector but that doesn't mean that the search giant has given up on AR for other consumers. Among recent related developments, one recent patent from the company suggests that Google is looking for a way to tie its AR progress into the AI ecosystem it has created under the Android Things and Google Assistant umbrellas. The glasses that are shown in that documentation don't bear any resemblance to the current Glass in design or styling. Instead, they appear to be aesthetically similar to traditional aviator sunglasses but they also step away from Glass in terms of functionality. Instead of requiring voice input, for example, they are described as interacting with a wide variety of smart home devices through glances and simple head motions. Although it isn't likely that those features will show up in the new Enterprise Edition of Google's wearable, that also isn't out of the question entirely.
Impact: Each of the new specifications that appear to have been revealed seem to indicate that the next generation of Glass will be a significant step up from its predecessor. If that continues across every piece of hardware, the camera, display technology, and audio aspects of the wearable will almost certainly see some big changes too. None of that means that this will become available to a more general consumer audience, however. Google has expended a lot of resources positioning itself as one of the go-to manufacturers for workplace AR and its partners in that space have followed suit. So although there have been some indications that the search giant is still exploring the possibilities for a consumer AR product, this particular Google product is not going to fill that gap.