It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a year since we saw Google take the curtain off one of their most talked about projects. When Google Glass was first introduced, back in April of last year, it was through the company’s social networking site, Google+, and information regarding the new project was pretty thin. Google was nice enough to include a video of what Glass “might enable you to do,” but that was about it. Still, it was enough to pique interest, to tease all of us, so Google did exactly what they were hoping to accomplish.
A few days after the announcement, I wrote a piece on whether or not you thought Glass would be see a wide adoption once it landed in the retail market, for the general consumer. Seeing as we didn’t know a lot about the prototype back then, we were basing that question entirely on the concept. Granted, the concept speaks volumes for what Google is aiming to do, but it is just a concept.
That didn’t change much in June, when Google held their yearly I/O event. As our own Taylor Martin pointed out after the event, Google’s Project Glass was both the most interesting aspect of the event, but also the most depressing. There is so much potential there for something to be cool, but Google is literally just showing us, back then, the bare minimum. Yes, there was a squadron of skydivers, but that doesn’t show much about the project.
That’s the depressing part; the fact that Google had Glass there, but still wasn’t showing us anything like the device’s user interface, or even how it might work. For all intents and purposes, Project Glass simply exists, and to the rest of the world that’s apparently how Google wants to keep it.
That truth gets centered in the spotlight when we look at a new report from ReadWriteWeb, which reportedly got their hands on Google’s upcoming non-disclosure agreement for Project Glass, and the developers being allowed to have access to it. If you’ll recall, the Mountain View-based company announced that developers who shelled out $1,500 to get early access to the Google Glass Explorer Edition, and that they’d be sent out in early 2013. Well, as you can imagine that time has come, and now those same developers are being invited to an event that is geared towards understanding Project Glass in a new way, and to let developers take a real crack at making it work for their needs.
It’s called Glass Foundry. It’s taking place on January 28 and January 29, in San Francisco; and February 1 and 2 in New York City. And it’s literally shrouded in mystery.
As RWW points out, the NDA for this event is pretty exhaustive in one simple point: Developers cannot talk about Google Glass. The First Rule, and what not, I guess. While Google is allowing these developers to take their Project Glass home, they are not allowed to let anyone else use it. Also, any photos or videos they take of Project Glass, or with Project Glass are supposed to be uploaded to a special Google+ account they’ll be given, and nowhere else.
Google is trying extra hard to keep this information, and whatever new information developers find out on their own with the device, under digital lock-and-key. They have their reasons, many of which are probably geared towards other companies not getting their “own” ideas, so no one should be surprised that Google is going this route. It’s not like they’re asking for the first born of a developer or anything.
As a consumer, we’re left out in the dark. Will there be leaks about Project Glass? Images? Information? Maybe. It’s certainly possible, as we live in a society that feeds off that type of thing, but would that help the consumer in the long run, not knowing when Project Glass will be ready for the mainstream store shelves? Not really. So, we can still only go on the concept. The idea that Project Glass will let you answer text messages, make phone calls, get directions, and do plenty of other things without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. It’s about ease of use, if nothing else, and it’s a great concept.
Then again, companies like HTC just want you to have a smaller device, almost like another phone, to pull out of your pocket. While some might think that the HTC Mini is a little ridiculous, I think it shows that there is obviously two different tracks that our favorite industry could take when it comes to essential accessories.
The first, the route that Google is taking, is the wearable accessory. Not just a smart watch, either. Something beyond that. Yes, we will still need our phones, but we won’t have to use them for all the little things anymore. Want to make a quick call? Project Glass will make that for you. Need to find the location of a coffee shop nearby? Your glasses can help you with that, all so you don’t have to pull out the phone with a 5.5-inch (or bigger!) display.
The other option is a device that makes grabbing information from your phone easy, without necessarily putting a finger on your phone’s display. Thanks to Bluetooth, a device like the HTC Mini can display notifications, call information, and calendar entries. It’s an easy idea, and one that some people will probably jump on, but I think Taylor would prefer something like the Pebble smart watch.
I want to ask you what you think you’d pay for something like Project Glass, because I think price is going to play a huge role for a device like that. We all know that Google is going to set the price for what they think it deserves, but considering they’re ready to price the Nexus 4 by LG at something like $350 for the top-end model, it’s not entirely impossible that they don’t want to price Project Glass in the same way.
But I’m going to ask you two questions: How much would you pay for Google’s Project Glass, and would you prefer that technology over something like the HTC Mini? Essentially, if you want to break it down, I’m asking you if you’d pay a premium to have something wearable on your face, versus having a smaller device in your pocket, or in your bag. Let me know, Dear Reader.