The first coming of Google Glass wasn’t a runaway success, but the futuristic wearable device did find some traction with businesses, health care providers and various other organizations. While wearing one on the street always felt geeky and awkward, wearing one for a particular purpose or job (like surveying a building) seemed to be much more acceptable.
Updated on 07-22-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added more reported specifications of the new Google Glass, which include a foldable frame and more rugged appearance, and rumors of Google’s enterprise ambitions.
It sounds like version 2.0 of the eyewear is going to capitalize on this and focus on enterprise users. 9to5Google reports that the new gadget will be called the Enterprise Edition (EE), following on from the Explorer Edition (XE) that was on sale until January this year. According to 9to5Mac, Google’s planning to distribute the reworked device exclusively to members of its Glass for Work program, a coalition of companies who’ve signed on to provide their respective employees gratis Glass units. As a result, individual consumers may not be able to get their hands on one.
Google has been busy hiring new staff as it readies Glass 2.0 and company executives have made a point of reminding everyone that the wearable is indeed on the way back. The new Glass is reportedly more iterative than revolutionary. According to the July report, its appearance has been tweaked to better target workplace demographics — the new Glass will fit better “in a factory or a hospital than on a runway,” the report states — but its aesthetics reportedly aren’t a wild departure.
Despite a water resistant, ruggedized body and hinge mechanism that allows it to fold like normal pair of glasses, it’s said the new Glass doesn’t look all that different than first-generation Explorer models. Its internals, on the other hand, do: Google’s been testing models with larger display, Intel’s low-power Atom processor, and external battery packs.
While Glass is off the scene, a number of companies have been rushing to fill the gap. Microsoft’s HoloLens is essentially a bigger and more powerful version of Glass, while the likes of Epson and Sony have also been getting involved — and also finding some success with commercial organizations ready to use the smart eyewear in the workplace.
Although there isn’t an official launch date for Google Glass 2.0, rumors say extensive testing is scheduled for later this year. Apparently, the new device focuses on video streaming and has battery improvements to match, and with images from a related patent filing going public on December 28, Google may well make an announcement in advance.
Updated on 07-08-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added rumored specifications of the new Google Glass, which include a larger display, Intel processor, and external battery packs, as well as news of its name: Enterprise Edition.