A Google Glass Upgrade Might Address Its Failings, But Lose The Faithful

On the heels of a brand new pack of Google Glass software, Google revealed that its Glass hardware will receive an update too—one that could address the flaws that render the device a very expensive (yet also very ineffective) paperweight for many early Glass owners.

According to a post on the official Glass Google+ page, the futuristic eyewear hatched out of Google’s “moonshot” laboratory will finally receive a much overdue hardware upgrade, although details are still scarce. The new version of Glass will double the current unit’s 1GB of RAM to 2GB. That alone should result in improvements across the board, speeding up the at-times jerky UI and laggy app experience. More from the full Google+ post:

The Explorer Program has been an exciting ride, and as a result of your feedback, we’ve picked up the pace on making more improvements. You asked for…

an easier way to frame your shots, so we bring you viewfinder. When you say “ok glass, show the viewfinder” you’ll see white L’s in the four corners of your Glass screen. You can then either take a photo by saying “ok glass, take a picture,” with a wink, or by pushing the camera button.

more Google Now cards, so we launched two new ones to remind you where you parked your car and let you know when packages are coming your way. Stay tuned for more to come.

better performance, so Glass will now start shipping with 2GB of RAM.

The post also alludes to a 20% battery life improvement, though it’s unclear if that’s a reference to what’s to come or just a delusional retelling of the havoc wrought by the Android 4.4 software update, which Glass Explorers anecdotally report actually made battery life worse. (We’ve reached out to Google’s Glass team for clarification and will update accordingly.)

Hamstrung By The Hardware

It’s been difficult to get excited about the novel experiences developers are crafting for Glass. The hardware, slick as is may be, just can’t keep up yet. Even after adding support for prescription glasses, launching in the U.K. and rolling out some flashy new Glass-ready designer DVF frames, the Glass Explorer crowd isn’t happy that Google might actually charge for an upgrade to the new model.

Considering that Google Glass owners are passive brand ambassadors (like it or not), if it doesn’t come up with a good upgrade solution, Google could burn the good will that it’s earned among the only set enthusiastic about Glass to begin with. Not the best idea.

A Nice New Set Of Glassware 

For Glass owners with the patience to try them out, the list of new Glassware includes a mix of classic apps and interesting new ones: MusicXmatch, Livestream, Goal.com, Shazam, Star Chart, Zombies, Run!, Allthecooks (updated), GuidiGO, Duolingo, The Guardian, 94Fifty Basketball, Runtastic. I’m the most excited about Star Chart—Google’s augmented reality overlay would be perfect for unobtrusively studying the night sky.

Glass: A Fragile Experience 

I received my Glass over a year ago after pre-ordering it two years ago during Google I/O 2012. Over the course of the last year, I’ve criticized Glass plenty. Between the $1500 price tag and the barely-there battery life, the Glass we’ve come to know is definitely not a consumer-ready device.

Here’s hoping that these changes prove more than incremental for a device synonymous with both high fashion and low brow humor—and that Google pulls through for the folks who’ve rooted for it from the start.

Lead image courtesy of Google

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