Google Guru Sergei Brin has been showing off with his Google Glasses again … this time by leaking an image of driving through the Montana Wilderness. The image, which shows Brin behind the wheel with a first person perspective, was obvious shot and then uploaded to a secret blog reserved only for those willing to pre-order the Project Glass specs to the tune of $1500 a piece.
While they’re waiting for the development of their $1500 computer specs, Brin is sending tantalizing updates like this to what he calls his “unique, trusted community.” These updates include pictures like the one above, by invitation only Google Hangouts, and special events that will keep the excitement level high. And Brin skydiving with them is especially exciting (although I wouldn’t want to have an app running showing terminal velocities and rapidly dwlindling altitude when suddenly your girlfriend calls).
I think it’s great marketing though. You want to keep the faithful excited and you want to show them that the project is actually moving forward (although let’s face it, you can photoshop all this or use After Effects to actually mock up the device. But if it works as he’s insinuating it is, it’s clearly deeper in development and should be hitting the shelves soon.
But it’ll also have competition. Apple, Olympus and even Epson are all jumping on the CompuGlasses bandwagon. And there’s even a pair of sunglasses which can take a picture with it’s five-megapixel onboard camera, add some Instagram effects and upload to Facebook or Twitter. The InstaShades are just a concept right now, but I can see the “kitchy” appeal of someone buying them if the price is right (and certainly not $1500).
The result is a full on arms race towards wearable computing, which has actually been around in bleeding edge franken rigs for over a decade. But form is now catching up with function and it’s looking like a more serious design and patent efforts are now underway all over the tech industry. But what I don’t get is, where’s GoPro in this mix? You’d think that glasses, or goggles with a build in camera to stream would be a natural for the extreme athlete set.
The thing is, that wearable computers has just been waiting for the right technology to be invented … can you say iPhone? As smartphones have developed an infrastructure and manufacturing has become smaller for parts, the idea of being able to wear a computer that can upload via 4G, WiFi or even Bluetooth is a reality. And going back to the image that Brin leaked, it can be ideal for those who spend their careers behind the wheel of a car (not to mention their emergency prevention, Police and miltary applications). And normally, with multiple companies developing such a device, we’d see healthy competition and lower prices.
But Cupertino has had other ideas lately, choosing to go after rivals for what they call too similar technologies to be nothing but what Steve Jobs referred to as “stolen technologies.” And as such, Apple is aggressively defending their patents. Apple’s patent application for iGlasses, for instance, pertains to ‘Methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user.’ And if they get that patent granted, they will be well positioned to leverage that patent to getting rid of the competition.
That won’t be good for anyone. But so far, Google isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with Cupertino over technologies. And we’re all the beneficiaries of it. I’m just hoping the price tag of these glasses goes down sooner, rather than later.
Hat Tip – Engadget