There is a subculture of wearable technology enthusiasts and developers that has been buying Glass, following Glass, chasing invitations to buy Glass, and tracking Glass’s developments on RSS feeds and Google Plus, says Steven Max Patterson via Network World.
Google’s announcement of the public sale of Glass and recent release of new Glass features and an upgrade to Android KitKat is big news for the wearable community… a wearable technology enthusiast/software developer, or rich enough that you don’t have to think twice about a $1,500 impulse buy to something that you don’t know much about. Both are pretty small groups, says the report.
At wearable tech conferences, where it seems that one in four attendees are wearing Glass, one thing is clear, says the writer. Google Glass is the ultimate wearable because its category is not yet bounded; it is a wearable work in progress. The other two - smartwatches and fitness bands - are well understood. Smartwatches are wrist-worn peripherals to smartphones and fitness bands let the wearer measure where he or she stands on the continuum between couch potato and triathlete.
Market researcher Canalys predicts that 5 million smartwatches will ship in 2014 and 17 million smart bands, including fitness bands and smartwatches, will ship in total during 2014. But wearable enthusiasts and developers looking for the next big thing are really looking for a platform on which they can deliver innovation.
Google has recently accomplished a lot to advance Glass as a platform since its announcement at Google’s annual developer’s conference two years ago, notes the report. Last month, Glass was upgraded to fashionable from utilitarian when Google struck a deal with Luxottica, which owns popular eyewear brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. For those needing corrective lenses, the choice had been to wear Glass over another pair of prescription glasses or don’t wear them at all. Two weeks ago, VSP, a vision insurance vendor, signed on to make prescription lenses for Glass that are partially reimbursable under vision care plans.
And, most recently,Glass took a step forward with its KitKat update. It’s important because it is the latest release of Android that adds all the newest Android developer features to the just-released Glass SDK. In addition, KitKat brings a much-needed improvement in battery performance, designed to be optimized for devices with limited RAM, limited processor speeds, or both.
The Glass team is giving users what they want right now without relying on a rectangular display and touch screen, says the report. The photo bundles organize images to shorten the time to navigate and display an image, and voice commands sort the growing list of commands by frequency, making it easier to see and access the commands you use most often from the touch menu.
Also released were Photo Replies in Google Hangouts that lets the Glass wearer reply to others in the Hangout discussion with just a tap, and push a photo of what they are looking at to others on the call. This is a really important feature for a lot of industrial and professional applications.
Glass has undergone a complete makeover in just a couple of months, making it stylish, improving the navigation of its completely unique user interface, giving developers more flexibility, optimizing battery life, and addressing privacy, notes Pattersn. With the public sale, more people will start exploring the ultimate wearable, bringing it closer to a full-scale consumer release, concludes the report.
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