With the slew of tech gadgets around us, Google Glass really stood out (in its brief two-year cameo) as something revolutionary and fashionable when it started selling in April 2013 in the US. The first year, Google Glass sold only to a limited number of people known as ‘Glass Explorers‘, before it went fully public in May 2014 for a quite handsome sum of $1500. Certainly this was one gadget meant only for people who had enough spare cash to spend on a techy eyeglass.
Sadly though, and to the surprise of quite a few, Google announced the cancellation of the product 12 months ago. In a way this cancellation was expected in some quarters. There had being numerous complains from the public about how users of Google Glass were using the gadget unethetically. The most complains came from how videos can be shot secretly while using the glasses.
Users of Google Glass did not help the cause of the gadget, firing back at complainants that using Google Glass is just like using a smartphone’s video. That defense was at best spurious. The term ‘Glasshole‘ quickly came to be associated with owners of the eye piece giving it and Google some seriously bad publicity.
Now, just 12 months after Google announced the cancellation of the product, it has filed for a new license at the US Federal Comminucations Commission, the US government department that is in charge of reviewing and approving consumer electronics like phones, tablets and wearables. A quick look at the website reveals the photos of the new revamped gadget, internal circuitry and a user manual that does not reveal too much.
Closely resembling the first version, the new gadget would also look like a regular pair of eyeglasses with a tiny screen hovering slightly above your eye. Also from the images on the FCC website, the new model can apparently fold due to a hinge in the frame.
From the design specs, the new model now has internal speakers and a flash memory IC. Other features include a redesigned charging port, support for 5GHz WiFi, a light indicator that comes on automatically when someone is using the camera (to address the public’s concern about privacy, this light cannot be disabled), and a glass prism that is slightly larger than the one in the older model.
The word from inside Google and from reputable media like The World Street Journal, indicate that the new model of Google Glass would be more robust and stronger and would include an Intel Atom Processor.
One of the biggest problem Google Glass faced in its first incarnation was not in its design or general overall performance, it was the bad reputation it got from its users. The challenge for the new version is simply this: can the Glass carve a new image for itself as a gadget used by people aware of other people’s right to their privacy?
Like the last time around, Google would only sell to a limited set of people initially, specifically to business owners and high net worth individuals. This move is seen as one the ways Google intends to use to check the abuses of the new Google Glass by consumers.