Google has now confirmed the time window and price range for its Google Glass enhanced reality device. On Thursday, the technology giant told news media that the futuristic eyewear will be available by the end of this year, at a price not more than a mere $1,500.
Initially, the target date for the product's release had been set by Google as 2014. But since the project was revealed in 2012, there have already been significant public steps toward its release, apparently indicating a more ambitious schedule.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, No Cell
These have included a recently launched Web site, two point-of-view video demonstrations, a developer hackathon last month, and a newly announced contest for "bold, creative individuals," in which the entrants best able to describe what they would do with a Glass device will have the opportunity to pre-order units from the current, limited supply. Additionally, the effort is no longer being called a "project," which, in Google-speak, means it has moved beyond R&D.
There have also been reports that Google is in the process of planning a roll-out of brick-and-mortar stores. A key purpose of such stores would be demonstrating such hard-to-describe products as Google Glass. Those reports have indicated both that Google is rushing to get at least some of the stores opened before this year's holiday season, as well as contradictory information that none will be launched before next year at the earliest.
New reports also indicate that Glass will be able to connect with Android phones and with the iPhone via Bluetooth and that it will have Wi-Fi, but that it will not have cellular connectivity. This means that, at least initially, it is not being positioned as a very fancy phone in the form factor of eyeglasses, although, of course, the Wi-Fi connection could be used for telephony.
'Gives Big Headaches'
The point-of-view video that was released earlier this week showed the device working, while an earlier concept video unveiled last year was only a vision statement. The more recent video fleshed out some of the functionality.
For instance, to address the device directly, the user says, "OK, Glass," followed by a command. To make a video call, a user can use the command, "Hang out with...." Voice-generated searches can include looking for images, and a user can ask for on-the-fly translations of spoken words.
The Glass video also showed that the device has the ability to know not only your location, but if that location requires some specific information, such as flight information shown in the corner of the display when the user is walking through the airport.
But, in spite of all the heady anticipation of this possible breakthrough in wearable computing, at least one insider has thrown some virtual cold water on Glass. Hedge fund manager Eric Jackson tweeted on Thursday that a venture capitalist "told me this wk -- who'd tried it & knows many people who have -- Google Glass actually is not very good at the moment, gives big headaches."