Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Me and Google Glass: Part 2 of 2

Previously in part 1 of 2, I briefly described my initial experience with Google Glass.  Today's post will bring out the critic in this geek and go over some of the realistic shortcomings of Glass and future challenges and my overall opinion Glass.  There won't be any pretty pictures in this one but just this geek's opinions.  Content is king, right?  :)

Google Glass is a serious forward thinking device and design.  It's one of the first of it's kind to get into consumer hands (active beta product, Glass Explorer program) and the instant you see it in action see the future of mobile computing and the world in general.

Glass is a weird product to explain to someone who has not heard of it before.  The easiest analogy is that it's basically your mobile phone's display that sits in your peripheral vision.  It is meant to augment but not overtake your day to day life and interaction with it.  As cool of a device as it is, there are still some major shortcomings with it.  Let's take a look at some of them right now!

1. Apps or lack of apps or lack of purpose.  At times, I actively seek out uses and scenarios to use Glass for.  The current MyGlassware store has a few dozen apps or so but these are all web based vs being native APK apps.  Some are well done while others are cool but really don't serve most people any purpose.  However the developer community is thriving and in turn we see new apps released monthly for Glass.  One does need to sideload these apps but some like Glasquare are well worth it!

2. Battery life.  Like any future thinking gadget of our time, battery life and power is the single biggest challenge we have to really advance our current tech to what we dreamed of and read about in sci-fi.  When you record video with Glass it keeps the screen on and in turn drains the battery much faster than normally.  Most days I can make it a full day (8am to 7pm) on a single charge but if I take videos the need to charge hits in around 4pm.  Not bad but not great.

3.  PRICE!!! Cool tech does not come cheap.  Being a beta device makes it hard to justify the $1500 for Glass but for us early adopters steep entry prices are nothing new to us.  Most consumers as of late get shocked to see an off-contract phone costing $500-$600.  To me that has been the norm since 2003 and all of the unlocked, imported phones I have been using.

4. Feature consistency.  This is a bad and good thing.  Glass' development team at Google is always developing and adding features (and sometimes taking away features).  One big thing they removed recently was the ability to add reminders to Google Now.  However the good thing is that the Glass team is very active on Google+ and the Glass Explorer's community page and are listening to our feedback and in turn we should see adding reminders back in the next major update.

5. Public misconceptions/Privacy concerns.  This is just part of the growing up process for a new technology.  Yes, some people will overreact while others will avoid your field of vision.  However this can be easily defeated by explaining how Glass works and reminding them that the phone in their pocket has a WAY better camera.  I also then show them a spy camera on amazon that only costs $70 that takes better pictures and made for creeping purposes.

Finally, what are my thoughts on Glass as a geek and kid of the 90s?  I love the concept of what Glass aims to be; the UI element in our future wearable pc world.  However in all reality Glass is still a niche for me.  I mainly use Glass' camera for reminding myself of things and capturing moments with family and friends and the random weird sighting.  Listening to music via Glass is fun too and also checking into foursquare at venues is great too.  Google needs to add more notification options to Glass so that it can at least show the same type of alerts a smartwatch can.  Corporate email alerts should have been in Glass from day one and is still not a feature.

To wrap it up, I love Glass and it's vision but it is still not ready for public release or consumption.  Hopefully a v3.0 hardware revision will add a higher resolution camera and better battery.  For the non-early adopters out there I honestly can't recommend Google Glass in it's present state.  For those early adopters with a disposable income, it's a must for you.

I predict a mid 2015 release to the public for a price of around $600 and the Glass that is released then may have a larger LCD that nearly covers full right eye to allow for full overlays and updated camera module along with refined battery.

Thanks for stopping by!