Reports: Google Sampling Glass Enterprise in Industry
After Google (GOOG) shuttered its Glass Explorer program and stopped selling the eyewear to consumers last January, the company repeatedly suggested it would bring the device back not only with a modified design but also with a different approach.
Now, amid a haze of hints and clues over the past few months, Google reportedly is sampling an industry version of the device to users in healthcare, manufacturing and energy at least a year ahead of when a new consumer edition may be brought to market. For the moment, Google appears to have shifted its focus for Glass to practical uses of the device and away from the cool factor.
Rather than mainstreaming the Glass eyewear, the vendor is putting the device in the hands of developers to craft specialty apps for use in specific industries, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The idea is to have enough use cases by the fall to make a stronger argument for Glass’ suitability in industry settings, the report said.
This version of Glass, referred to inside Google as the “Enterprise Edition,” or “EE,” isn’t a major departure from the earlier Explorer units but it does have enough mechanical and technological tweaks to make a noticeable difference, 9to5Google reported.
It’s still shaped like a curved rectangle but, in one of the biggest changes, it features a mechanical hinge system that folds the computer and battery down like a standard pair of glasses, the report said. Similar to the Explorer edition, the computer hardware sits on the right side of the unit. An upgraded, larger prism is housed in front of the user’s right eye.
According to 9to5Google, the overall look and feel of the Glass Enterprise Edition is more rugged as though it were built to withstand the rougher handling that may occur in industrial settings such as a factory floor or hospital where its function will far exceed its appearance in importance.
EE Glass runs on an Intel (INTC) processor and sports better battery life and heat management, the report said, all of which are Google’s nod to complaints about the earlier Explorer version.
According to the report, Google plans to distribute the enterprise version of the device exclusively through its authorized Glass for Work partners, which means it won’t be available in stores and there won’t be a suggested retail price attached to it–at least for a while.
Three months ago, Massimo Vian, Luxottica chief executive, with whom Google struck a partnership last year to help design, manufacturer and distribute frames for Glass, said that a new version of Glass is on the way.
“In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear],” Vian told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting. “What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation.”
Earlier this month, word surfaced of an FCC filing from July 1 in which Google listed a new, unidentified product under FCC ID A4R-GG1. What’s the “GG1” possibly stand for? Google Glass perhaps?
The device was labeled as “BLUETOOTH & DTS/UNII a/b/g/n/ac” with model name “GG1.” It supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi in 2.4GHz and 5GHz speeds and has Bluetooth LE and rechargeable, non-removable batteries, and comes with an AC charger and USB cable for PC connected charging and data transfer.