Google continues to slowly-but-surely make Google Glass more widely available. Now, anyone willing to put down $1,500 can head to the Google Play store and grab the Google Glass “Explorer Edition,” previously only available to those who'd scored an exclusive invitation. Yep, here at the end of 2014 Google still hasn't been able to get a mass consumer version of Glass out the door, so the expensive beta developer product is all you can get for now. Alongside Glass, buyers can also pick up accessories like frames, a custom earpiece, and shades.
The Glass Explorer Edition was originally announced in February 2013, with many predicting that a cheaper consumer version would follow in late 2013 or early 2014. Over a year-and-a-half later there still seems to be no sign of it on the horizon. At Google I/O 2014, Google's biggest event of the year, Glass didn't get a mention at all.
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Google I/O 2014 kicks off today, with the big keynote starting at 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT, and you can join in and watch the presentation in the player above. What are we expecting to hear about during the Google I/O 2014 keynote? Well, the biggest piece of news will likely be the reveal of the next version of Android, likely Android 5.0. We'll get a look at the future of Android smartphones and tablets, in addition to set-top boxes. Google will be showing off a new Android TV set-top box, which is interesting since Google TV hardware failed so miserably over the last few years. Wearables should also be big today, with Google Glass and Android Wear devices getting some stage time. Google also typically releases Google+ updates during the I/O keynote as well.
What are you hoping to hear about from Google this morning?
Google wants you to get them while they are hot. Google Glass has made its public premiere, but the company warns that its inventory is limited. When it opened a preliminary sale last month Google burned through the overwhelming majority of its Glass inventory in a single day and were forced to close up shop.
Since then Google has been building up its supply of the long-anticipated gadget. And as of Wednesday morning, they have announced open season on the Google Glass Explorer edition. It's still in the beta, but Google wants this to be its open test, as they announced via company blog this morning.
The Explorer carries a pretty heavy price tag: $1,500 in its current form. It's certainly outside of my range, so it looks like I won't be getting one just yet. Google says it plans a more widespread release of the Glass later this year. If that's the case, we're curious if the price will stay the same, and if not, how the company will handle the unhappiness of those who may have paid much more.
Want your own pair right now? Hit the link below!
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Google has pushed out a new update for Google Glass Explorers, the early testers and purchasers of the ambitious wearable tech. Most notable in the XE5 update is the addition of Google+ functionality in Glass, specifically allowing you to comment on, and +1 entries on Google's social network. You can also receive incoming Google Hangout invitations. Here's a full rundown of the changes:
- Change to sync policy: require power + WiFi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
As you can see, Google is steadily improving the Glass experience, even as it's just in the beta Explorer stage. With a year-or-so before it hits mass market, the company has a lot of time to refine the technology to get it ready for the meanstream. They'll need to, in order to quiet the jokes.
With this past weekends Saturday Night Live spoof, Google Glass has officially gone mainstream. As part of Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen plays Tech Correspondent Randall Meeks, and tries to explain just how revolutionary Glass can be, all while trying to work within the constraints of poor speech recognition and awkward gestures. Yes, it's a spoof, and therefore, it is very exaggerated--but that's what makes it funny. We've embedded the Hulu clip below, after the break, for your enjoyment.
Despite Google Glass Explorer Edition units already being in the hands of developers, it appears that Google won't be ready to release Glass to the masses for another year or so. Originally the company had hopes to release it's wearable computing device by the end of 2013 for general consumers, but comments from Eric Schmidt in an interview on BBC Radio 4 says otherwise.
In response to a question asking when Glass will be available, Schmidt said, "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."
Obviously, we are in mid-April, so it sounds like the earliest we'll see Glass hit the market will be Spring 2014. A disappointment to many, we're sure, but a device like Glass needs to be done just right, and we're glad to see Google taking the time to get it right before releasing it. You can listen to the interview here--fast forward to the 4-minute mark to hear the Glass discussion.
More on Google Glass:
Google is giving out a few dozen Google Glass Explorer Edition units each day, rolling them out to developers as they are being made, rather than waiting until all are done to get them out at the same time. The result? A bunch of excited devs getting their hands on Glass, and giving their opinions on the future tech. We're already seen images of the Google Glass box contents, and now Brandon Allgood gives a great first impression on his Google+ account. Here's a snippet:
I wore Glass all day today. It was light and didn't bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day. I didn't however take long videos or hangout for very long. I am also not very popular on G+ and most of my email goes to my business account so I didn't mind the "ding" when I got an email or G+ comment. Most of my co-workers were excited about seeing Glass. Some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall the reaction has been positive and people aren't bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. I found that my habits will nee to be modified. For example I just need to tint my head back (which turns on the display) and I can see the time. No more looking for a clock or pulling out my phone. I also don't need to check my email on my phone or computer. I found myself from time to time hearing the chime and then pulling my email up on my computer and not Glass. I am over that now.
Hit the link below to head on over to Brandon's Google+ post for the rest. It's a good read on what it's like when you first get Glass, and the process of getting used to using it, the expected, and the unexpected.
Read More | Brandon Allgood Google+
Google Glass units are starting to land in the hands of developers who've signed up for the early Explorer Edition of the device, and images and videos are making their way to the Internet with the quickness. For example, Brandon Allgood posted an image of Glass unboxed to his Google+ page, showing everything it comes with. If you're curious, along with Glass, Explorers also get two different visor lenses (clear and shaded,) a carrying bag with a hard plastic area, AC adapter, and a USB cable for charging all in a Nexus-like box. Hard to believe that Google Glass is finally here, but the units are making their way out into the wild. Google says that it hopes to release Glass to the masses before the end of the year.
Read More | Google+
Google confirmed today that Google Glass units are rolling off the production line, with paying Explorer Edition members set to start receiving their devices in the coming weeks. The expectation was that the Google Glass Explorer Edition would begin to ship at the beginning of next month, and it appears that Google is right on track. The Explorer Edition of Google Glass is an early-access model that allows developers to get their hands on the device and API, readying Google Glass experiences for customers when Glass goes on sale publicly near the end of the year.
Read More | Google
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 was announced at CES, and we bring you a cool demo. Gorilla Glass appears in products like the iPhone, Android smartphones, and tablets. The demo shows you how Gorilla Glass 3 is thinner and lighter than the previous version from last year, while being a lot more durable and able to resist shattering under pressure and when dropped. It's already been announced that Gorilla Glass 3 will be included in the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Check it out!
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