Author: Novarum Admin
The announcement of Google Glass’ demise is no great surprise to those who have been following the media buzz around the technology in recent months. Glass was really impressive, but had a number of significant barriers to widespread adoption. The most widely lauded was that it just looked plain odd. Its short battery life didn’t win it any favours either, and the only obvious solution to that would worsen the aesthetics. However, probably the main issue was that most people just couldn’t identify a need for a voice-controlled heads up display. Our smartphones deliver almost everything most of us want, and the Apps we use have been carefully designed for touch interaction – something which would need completely re-thought for voice control – meaning existing technology wasn’t easily transferrable to the device.
However, Google’s experiment was not a complete failure, indeed Google state they are still planning to progress with “a future version of Glass”, but moreover the development community did identify applications where the Glasses provided a real advantage. Applications where hands free-use and visual recognition, or recording and feedback were required, are particularly useful, especially for industrial, defense and medical solutions. Even in these sectors, where the benefits are obvious, and fashion, cost and battery life for all day wear may be less critical, the offering never really progressed beyond the feasibility stage – so why is that?
These projects need significant investment and security of supply, yet Google always made clear that Glass was an experiment, open to developers only – they never had any intention of rolling it out to the wider market in its current form.
So, what does this mean for those applications where Glass was the obvious solution? The, at least temporary, demise of Google Glass actually leaves a void which others will be able to fill. Normally, anyone looking to compete with Google on any front does so with trepidation, but in this case, there will be a market opportunity, not restricted by price, for alternative hardware providers to deliver solutions less encumbered by aesthetics and battery size, and focused on user requirements.
Google has promised to continue its Glass program in some new form, and we may one day see a version of Glass reach the consumer market. Of course, having seeded the idea and tested the market, others might choose to join them in that race to success. I think we can be sure that somewhere in a Cupertino conference room, the word iGlass has been written on a flipchart in an “ideation” session – with all the other focus on wearables in an, as yet, unproven market, whether Apple is next to pursue this avenue, only time will tell.