Google Glass forges new Mobile Form Factor

by Matt Klassen on January 3, 2013

It’s been just over six months since Google first unveiled Google Glass, its ambitious augmented reality eyewear project. Now as we enter 2013 it appears the search engine giant is still steaming ahead with this innovative platform, trying to work out the kinks before the glasses are shipped to developers later this year.

In a recent interview with IEEE Spectrum, project head Babak Parviz confirmed that development is well underway for Google Glass, the team still tinkering with user interface, phone capabilities, software, hardware, and the possibility of voice commands instead of smartphone control or an associate touchpad.

I’ll be honest, when I first covered the release of Google Glass back in April it looked like nothing more than a niche extension to one’s smartphone, one of those not-so-practical applications that a select few fashionistas and techno-geeks would embrace wholeheartedly. But as I read this latest update it became clear to me that Google Glass will not simply be an extension of your smartphone or tablet, but an entirely new mobile form factor.

As clear evidence that I should have nothing to do with technology R&D, I often find it difficult to imagine what lies on the technology development horizon. Of course I doubt that I’m alone in this, as in a market dominated by two key form factors—smartphones and tablets—how many of us really have the creative sense to know what revolutionary new platform or tech application lies around the next bend?

So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m blown away by the development of the Google Glass project, not because I’ll ever buy glasses with phone and text capability and an annoying heads-up-display, but because wearable technology is actually shaping up to be the next dominant mobile form factor, instead of simply the motley collection tertiary tech accessories I thought it would be.

To that end, Parviz explained in his interview, the Google Glass team is working on improving user interface for the glasses, removing any sort of dependence on external hardware like a touchpad or smartphone by adding voice commands, and removing any need for a smartphone by including phone capabilities as well.

“[Google Glass] is a complicated thing.” Parviz added. “This is not a laptop or a smartphone. It’s an entirely new platform. So how people interact with it and what people do with it is totally new territory…But we hope that when we ship this to developers, other people will also figure out what this very powerful platform is able to do.”

While the glasses most likely won’t be available to consumers until sometime in 2014, as Google clearly doesn’t want to rush its pioneering project, the company announced that a select group of developers will be able to purchase the ‘Explorer’ version of the eyewear platform sometime in early 2013.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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