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Google first announced the smart glasses in 2013. The project started in mid-2011 by Google X, an out of box think tank by Google to explore far out ideas without worrying too much about R&D cost. The computer would project images on your eyes, and transfer sound through your bone. It was a really breaking technology. That being said, it was a spectacular failure and Google kill the project in early 2015, around 2 years after launch. It remains as a business tool for enterprises.
Now, let’s explore the reason why this cool technology failed. First, have you actually seen the smart glasses?
Well, it’s a cool product, but it is just not there yet. There are a lot of problem with glasses right now.
The problem right now, it is the form factor. The problem with naming things as smart glasses, that you limit the form factor to glasses or spectacles. Now, you have a device that is literally attached to you head all day long, project some images to your eye. We are getting really good at making electronic devices, but we are not at the level we get iPhone 1 tech level that fit at the side of your frame.
So now, your problem is you have to jam all the processing power, the cameras, the projection lens, the battery and the network transmitter that is the size of your glasses frame and the weight must be light, like less than 50 grams. The enemy of the smart glasses is battery. Google glass claim that their glass can last whole day, but in reality, when you start using the features, the battery drain very fast.
Glasses, just like watches, is a very personal device. There’s a reason why you go to a glasses shop they carry hundreds or thousands of frame. Every person wanted a certain look or shape that will put on their face. The problem with electronics, they all tend to look the same. And really, do you want something that sticks out at the side on your face all the time. Good luck talking to someone or going somewhere without being stared at.
At the end of the day, people don’t wear the glasses because the glasses are too bulky, it looks weird and people just do not want to wear them in public. The technology is cool, but just was not meant to be. Glass now lives as an enterprises product that help with Augmented reality. Google last updated the SDK aorund 2019. It is not know if the Glass product actually profitable for Google.
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