The FCC isn’t where most people go for leaked product photos and pre-release information,
but every now and then a few tidbits slip out of the government database.
Today is one such day — if, at least, you’re a fan of Google Glass and interested in
how the platform has evolved since Google unceremoniously canceled it.
There hasn’t been much to say about Glass since then, and while Google insisted the
program wasn’t canceled, it wasn’t falling over itself to reveal anything of note
about it, either.
The FCC’s website has new high-resolution images of Google Glass 2.0, and there’s a
number of subtle changes between the original version and the new model.
The new model can apparently fold (there’s a hinge in the image below).
The speaker is now internal (no more bone conduction), Ars reports that the power
button has moved to the back, and we believe we’ve identified the flash memory IC,
but can’t make out the exact model number well enough to identify the size.
Other features include a new charging port, support for 5GHz Wi-Fi, a camera light
that enables automatically when someone is recording (and that apparently cannot
be disabled), and a slightly larger Glass prism. No word on features like battery life,
resolution, or capabilities, and we can’t find a screenshot yet that shows us the
main SoC actually powering the device.
Can Google fix Glass?
Google Glass’s biggest problem the first time around had nothing to do with
its hardware, battery life, or recording feature, even though all of these were
limited and only modestly useful compared with what cell phones, camcorders,
or even a D-SLR could do (at $1,500, Google Glass wasn’t cheap).
Instead, Glass’ primary problem was the PR its own user base created around the devices.
While it’s not fair to blame an entire group (even a tiny, elite group) for the bad
behavior of an even smaller number of people, it was the lousy behavior of a few
individuals that dominated the conversation over Glass. When ordinary people voiced
concerns about being invisibly recorded, a certain type of Glass user (quickly dubbed a
“Glasshole”) couldn’t wait to argue that wearing a potentially invisible recording device
was the same as using a smartphone — never mind the fact that most people would take
exception to being followed by someone holding a smartphone in front of their face and
obviously recording with it.
The fact that Google’s founders don’t put much value on user privacy or even on the
privacy of medical data didn’t help Google Glass find a footing. Neither did the
“In five years everyone will be wearing one of these, so DEAL” line of argument from
many of Glass’ most ardent supporters. In short, Glassholes ruined Glass.
So far, Google has only mentioned launching this new device in an Enterprise Edition,
possibly with an Atom processor and other souped-up internals.