So farewell, for now, Google Glass.
Reports of its death are quite understated – it’s dead in the same way that a caterpillar entering a cocoon is dead – it is merely metamorphosing into a lean, slicker, more public and battery-friendly version which unlike its ancestors rise and assumed fall, will not launch until it’s 100% ready.
Naysayers will claim Glass has been an expensive failure, a very public flop but I would counter that it’s actually been the most successful public beta trial of a tech product ever. The technical and consumer behavioural lessons learned will be invaluable for when Google Glass 2 is unveiled. Sony is about to launch its own line of wearable eyewear with the launch of its SmartEyeGlass devices so it’s very much a sector that is growing before our eyes, literally.
On the other hand, or wrist, is the emergence of the Smart Watch as the leader in wearable computing at the moment. LG and Sony have been the big players with their Android-based Smartwatch designs with hipster Kickstarter favourite Pebble about to launch a colour version, possibly causing a schism in their digital artisanal following to rival that when Dylan went electric.
All this will pale by comparison when the tech T-Rex drops its foot into the pen this month with the launch of the Apple Watch. Taking up a mere 12 pages in the latest issue of Vogue, the device which will enable the user to fly, walk on water and cure every illness at the tap of an app (if the pre press is to be believed), will put the market back at the centre of public attention but like the original Google Glass, is it ready for primetime?
It’s a big burden of expectation for a device that will only allow the user to play music, track steps, view emails and social media updates and of course, tell the time. At least Glass had the hands free video camera and stills capability.
Apple and Google are betting on cloud computing taking people away from the concept of individual devices and storing information centrally, and allowing us to access data from anywhere. The ubiquity of personal assistant apps like Siri or Google Now is also the key to wearables.
Wearables bring the personalisation of data into everyday life. The Apple Watch is showerproof for a reason. Maybe this is where Google went wrong all along – Google Shower Goggles anybody?