Most mildly technologically savvy individuals will by now have heard of the hottest new product on the market: Google Glass. And with many touting this new device as a revolutionary step forward in mobile communication, Google’s new high-tech baby certainly seems to be generating a great deal of excitement. But is it really the breakthrough Google claim it to be, or will its many flaws render it a mere fad?
One thing is for sure: Google will need to make good on its promise to restyle the headset if it expects the masses to invest. Indeed, although they have not been openly seeking partnerships with eyewear manufacturers, major manufacturers and brands like Luxottica and Oakley are reported to be hot on their heels about developing their own stylized version of the Glass (for more information, check this article). So what is Google Glass and can it really change the way we view and use mobile technology?
Why all the fuss?
Google Glass is the first of its kind on the market and represents Google’s forward-thinking attempt to bring some of the most essential elements we associate with mobile technology to eye-level. With its integrated camera, microphone, touchpad, Bluetooth and wireless capabilities, and a prism screen, Glass allows wearers to connect to the Internet and subsequently search online, navigate using GPS, read and send messages, take photos and films, and hold teleconferences through a simple series of voice commands or taps of the touchpad.
What makes Google Glass all the more exciting is the many possibilities its creation has opened up: from real-time translation and transcription functions to live traffic, travel and sports updates, all shown to the wearer from within a ‘heads up’ display. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility and some of the apps being developed for the Glass, such as face recognition software, have raised some privacy concerns among observers.
And that’s not the only problem
As has already been alluded to in the introduction, the Google Glass headset is not exactly the epitome of sophistication. The rather clunky battery pack and hardware sit to one side of the headset, spoiling the symmetry of the frame and giving it a very science-fiction-like feel. And while we are on the subject of batteries, this one is fairly short-lived.
Indeed, the device’s current consumption rates cannot be sustained for any reasonable length of time, reducing the headset’s practicality and appeal considerably. Other problems that have been flagged up also include a fairly poor display quality and its current price tag – developers have shelled out $1,500 a piece – which will have to drop significantly if the product is to succeed on the mass market.
Watch this space
The jury is still out on Google Glass. Although its implications are hugely exciting and the technological advances made to create it are undeniable, its practicality and value for money will continue to be compromised if Google does not seek to remedy its flaws before a competitor succeeds in stealing the show.