Google Glass : A pre-release review of sorts

Google Glass is a groundbreaking product in the nascent wearable computing marketplace. It has the potential to create an entire new category of consumer electronics, smartglass, and an app ecosystem to go along with it.

Here’s the good, the bad, and some unanswered questions surrounding the imminent public release of Glass, due to hit store shelves by Christmas 2013:

Good Glass:
- lightweight
- a hella lotta hardware in a very miniaturized enclosure
- pioneering wearable form factor
- near instantaneous information at your fingertips “google…”
- sub second search results direct to your retina
- voice command
- private audio via bone conduction
- private video via pico-projection
- look like a total tech badass to your geek friends
- your choice of color
- super simple development API
- transparent overlay of video atop natural vision
- screen is subtle: covers a very small %age of total field of view
- bluetooth tethering to smartphone keeps radiation away from brain.

- battery life
- the style factor – look funny to your non-geek friends
- excessive UX reliance on side-mounted touch surface
- lack of native app dev for developers
- all info & services must go through Google servers
- somewhat limited functionality of API
- price : $1500 + tax for developer prototype
- lock-in to Google ecosystem
- possible portal for advertising direct to your retina
- screen only covers a very small %age of total field of view
- monoscopic : only on one eye
- lack of 3G / 4G radio requires external smartphone or wifi hub.

Glass Unknowns

  • what style options will be available for sunglass and prescription lens retrofits?
  • price for consumers : will it hit a sweet spot?
  • what accessories will be available?

Worth a spin.

For developers, an early Glass prototype is definitely worth the $1500, if only for the opportunity to be included in the early days of the Glass App Store, Google Glass Play, or equivalent smartglass marketplace.

For consumers, a maybe: the decision will depend on your individual fashion sense, available accessories to fit your usage, available apps to fit your needs, and MSRP price point.