Everyone expected to see at least a small glimpse of Glass during the Google I\O keynote conference, however our expectations were once again failed.
Back in 2012, Glass had a wowing entrance, as Steve Lee made one of his friends wear Glass while diving from a plane to the top of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Everyone was very excited and amazed, especially because at that time those who actually got to see Glass with their own eyes, were very few. In 2013, even though we were expecting some big Glass related announcements, the device was pretty invisible, aside from the fact that Google held some workshops to teach to developers new ways of creating Glassware. Steve Lee said at the time that Google Glass has big chances to become mainstream.
On the I/O 2014 conference schedule, there are some Glass meetings announced, but nobody wore the device on stage and no one made any reference to it so far. On the other hand, this kind of attitude is specific to Google and its experimental devices; after all, nobody expects for Google to hand over self-driving cars during the event. But Glass isn’t in this situation; we believe that it has surpassed the state of an experimental device since it’s available to buy at the $1,500 price, and developers have tested it for nearly 2 years now. Google says that an early sale could be pretty overwhelming, but the company is showing a lot of positivism towards Glass and support towards developers, even towards those who didn’t buy the device but still want to see it as a technological success.
Perhaps this one of the main reasons why Google’s silence regarding Glass, is becoming so frustrating; after all, didn’t it pass the experimental phase in which only certain persons had access to these info?
There has been a lot of progress during the beta time: After releasing Glass with a futuristic wireframe, which was disliked by most of the people, they added a line of normal prescription frames and made a partnership with Luxottica, the manufacturer behind brands like Oakley and Ray Ban. Also, a certification program for business software has been announced to begin soon and now Google Glass is sold in UK as well. And the most recent change has been made in March this year, when the RAM memory has been upgraded to 2 GB and the battery performance has been improved. Even so, we don’t know yet when Google is going to officially release Glass to the large markets; at first, we thought in a 2013 release, but the launch date, which would also imply a price decrease, remains unknown for now.
We believe that the main reason for this is that the technology used in Glass, isn’t yet working at full potential, and there still are some issued to fix. Take the life battery, for instance, which is the biggest issue so far; you can’t ask for someone to pay $1,500 for a pair of glasses that should be the user’s daily companion, considering that the battery doesn’t last half of day if constantly used. And even with the new improvements on the device’s design, people still characterize it as being chunky. We have to admit that the technology that makes Glass work is nevertheless impressive but you still can’t put them on the same shelf with regular prescription glasses.
So, it’s no surprise that the big question revolving around Glass is related to the final price. The actual price is huge for nearly 70% of the regular electronic consumers and unless they’ll lower the price, sales might not go in a desirable way. So, all we can do now is hope that Google will held its promise and lower the price so that it could be accessible for everyone who wants to buy it. And we can’t say that Google couldn’t convince people to buy it, it’s just that so far, the company has offered no clue on how they’re planning to cut the price. What we understood from this is that Glass might no longer be targeting regular consumers, but businesses that could give the device more of a professional than personal use.
During the first phases of the Explorer program, Google has succeeded to enrich a lot of developers and celebrities with the lights of Glass, but this might have triggered a reaction of alienation among regular electronic costumers. Also, there are the privacy issues that made some countries restrict Glass usage and some restaurants to ban completely the use of the device in their premises. We all remember the Glass etiquette guidelines, released by Google in an attempt to clear Glass’s reputation and diminish the use of the term “Glasshole”. And while the marketing campaigns try to fix a part of Glass’s limitations and sell promises, the device’s focus on social media interaction and privacy issues is holding Glass back.
We can’t say that people won’t overcome these limitations in the end, after all, even the now so popular iPhone has been looked at with doubt when it first appeared, but considering its wide spread, people learned how to live with it. But for Glass, things aren’t going that well, and now after a year since its appearance, it’s still referred to as the gadget “those people have”, and not the device someone close to the regular consumer has, like colleagues or friends. People aren’t offered the possibility of trying this headset, understand how it works and make a plan on how to buy their own. And even though we were expecting for Google to take a stand at this I/O conference, and offer more details about the future of Glass, the company preferred to keep these plans unveiled and present their new Android Goggle project, that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality device.