Since Google withdrew Google Glass from the consumer market, the speculation about Google’s intentions in the augmented reality field have been closely watched by analysts and mostly they believe that Google Glass 2 will be coming sooner rather than later. In recent days, the number of reports on what the next version of Google Glass will look like has increased drastically. Here is a summary of what the rumors say so far.
While Google itself is very tight lipped about what is going on behind closed doors, rumors are the name of the game for now. As the image shows, Google may actually like the rumors and their website does pretty much say: “We will be back!”
Slash Gear and 9to5 Google both point their fingers at a shift in business focus, with the enterprise market being picked as the main target for Google Glass 2. They call this new version EE or enterprise edition. At the same time there are some more changes in the device itself. First the rumor says that the prism in the EE will be substantially larger and about 50% bigger based on a picture published by 9to5 Google. They also state that Google will switch from an ARM processor to an Intel Atom chip, to provide better battery life.
These are two very interesting statements that could come from the results of Google’s explorer program. The shorter prism in the earlier version forces the user to not only look up but also to the side at the same time. This may cause some eye strain, especially if the device is used for a longer period of time. The chip change seems also to be the result of another complaint, as battery life may be deemed insufficient for enterprise applications.
The websites also said that the new version may come with an external battery pack to remedy such shortcoming. In addition, they have spotted a Google device coming through the FCC approval process that may have been actually the Google Glass 2. It was listed as a Bluetooth device but also carries Wi-Fi in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.
IBN Live points out that Google has filed a patent application called “Self-Describing Three-Dimensional (3D) Object Recognition and Control Descriptors for Augmented Reality Interfaces”, the basis for all augmented reality functionality.
On the same level, Wearable points out that another Google patent describes a head mounted device that allows the user to take a picture by means of gesture control. Forming a frame with one’s fingers in front of the head mounted device will trigger the picture taking.
While Google Glass was carrying the excitement for augmented reality technology over the past two years, it did not completely kill that excitement after it decided to pull back on the device this year. Instead, it seems that Google management has come to the same conclusion all other smartglasses makers have come to accept – smartglasses as a product are not enjoying the same consumer enthusiasm as tablets and smartphones. The best bet for the moment is to address markets that where the wearer actually gains measurable advantages, as they do in most enterprise applications.
At this, point rumors are the best we can get, and if they become a reality, it would show that Google Glass will continue to be anything than a technology leader in this head mounted display field – continuing with a prism as an optical combiner, when other companies are working on planar waveguides already.
Also, other companies have been addressing the enterprise market for years now and have a significant lead in this field in terms of application development and market acceptance. That means that it will not be an easy route for Google, which is more known for its consumer focus rather than for its presence in the enterprise market. – NH