Back in 2013, Google announced a project that would have taken the world by storm: Google Glass. This head-mounted wearable computer was meant to enhance the way people experience reality by allowing them to see user-friendly information atop of reality. However, following the thousands of write-ups that hyped the project up, there were even more that criticized it after this supposedly forward product didn’t live up to expectations. Eventually, people just lost interest in the product altogether.
Wearable technology has long been in existence. HP’s discussion about the brief and complicated history of wearable tech traces this trend back to 1284 when the first eyeglasses were invented. Throughout several centuries and countless iterations of wearable calculators, the Sony Walkman, Fitbits, and finally, the Apple Watch in 2015, wearable tech has shifted in design and purpose. Now, finally, it seems there is a renewed push for tech companies to take a crack at what Google couldn’t figure out back in 2013: smart glasses.
The issues with the first smart glasses
The launch of Google Glass left many people questioning the relevance and use of even owning a pair. Medium noted that one of the primary reasons as to why Google Glass failed is because, despite the excessive hype around the product, the creators failed to explain what problems the new technology was trying to solve, while neglecting to distinguish who its users would be. Furthermore, Business2Community noted that aside from its not-so-pleasing design, the wearable technology raised concerns on how safe it would be for everyday use. Since Google Glass is wearable technology, many people were bothered by the fact that a gadget that emits carcinogenic radiation would be in such close proximity to the brain most of the time. The built-in camera also raised privacy and piracy concerns because the device could be recording or taking photos of other people at any time, and could even be used to illegally film movies in cinemas.
Although Google Glass’s epic failure led people to think that the idea of smart glasses would be put off indefinitely, there is now a renewed push for tech companies to revisit the concept and give it another go.
The future of smart glasses
Apple is renown for their innovative products, and how they continue to push the envelope when it comes to consumer tech. They’re also usually excited to share whatever new tech they come up with, as illustrated in our post ‘Apple Company Leaks All The Prices & Specs Of Its Upcoming Phones’, so it’s no surprise that they’re among the first to announce that they’re giving smart glasses another shot. But what can these smart glasses even really bring to the table, now that smartphones have evolved to become all-in-one computers in their own right?
As reported by Fox News, big tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple all believe that smart glasses could be the next big thing in technology. Recently, Apple announced that in 2023, they would be launching smart glasses that, similar to its predecessor, Google Glass, aims to augment reality. CNBC also noted that Apple promises to achieve this by allowing users to place digital content on top of real-life. The newfound vigor towards smart glasses can be seen as a step towards achieving the dream of making AR the next best computing platform that will replace phones, computer screens, and televisions. Amazon, on the other hand, has its own version of smart glasses, Echo Frames, that work like any regular glasses but with the addition of a built-in speaker and a voice assistant. Amazon aims to come up with wearable technology that will answer queries at any moment, announce reminders, and operate other home gadgets. However, it is worth noting that these functions are already being provided by smartphones.
Current smart glasses all share the same issues of being too bulky and too pricey. Therefore, the challenge for big tech companies who are betting on smart glasses is to make them comfortable for everyday use and cheaper for the larger population to afford. In addition, they also lack a clear function that puts to question their relevance. With this, big tech companies planning to launch smart glasses are expected to take a look back at Google Glass and address the criticisms it faced, because if not, they might just end up failing as well.