Technology

Google announces new $999 Glass augmented reality headset


Google has announced a new version of its Google Glass augmented reality headset, which is now an official product instead of an experiment. The headset named Glass Enterprise Edition 2 costs $999, although, like its predecessor, it’s not being sold directly to consumers. A new processor, an improved camera, a USB-C port for faster charging and a ton of other features are the gadgets new improvements.

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Google isn’t placing the product for public sale, as it is a business-focused one. It seems, though, that is expecting big sales on the Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The device has been moved out of Google parent company Alphabet’s X “moonshot factory” and into the Google family of products, letting Google “meet the demands of the growing market for wearables in the workplace,” according to a blog post.

The whole design of the gadget hasn’t changed much. It’s still relatively a simple heads-up display, not a Microsoft HoloLens-style mixed reality headset. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip upgraded the gadget, which is designed for augmented and virtual reality. Google says that with the XR1’s power, the new Glass headset can incorporate “computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities”. Google has already released a consumer version computer version gadget called Lens, which offers features like sign translation and restaurant recommendations.

Google is also adding new safety frames to Glass in partnership with Smith Optics, plus a bigger battery and other upgraded components. Glass also now runs on Android, with support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2’s existence leaked months ago, complete with news that it would likely be moving to Android. But we haven’t gotten a full picture of Google’s plans for it until now.

Glass was originally billed as a mass-market augmented reality headset, but after complaints about privacy and functionality, Google reinvented it as a tool for surgeonsfactory workers, and other professionals. Google boasts that businesses have reported “faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs” by using Glass for hands-free computing or troubleshooting. The original “Explorer Edition” cost $1,500, so while the Enterprise Edition 2’s $999 cost isn’t cheap, it’s still significantly more accessible.

Several other companies are also working on business-focused augmented reality glasses, including Microsoft, Vuzix, and Epson. Meanwhile, consumer-focused AR hasn’t gotten very far, despite the existence of smart glasses like the North Focals. Moving Glass out of the X program seems like a vote of confidence from Google — but for now, there’s no sign that it’s coming to a broader audience.

Source: The Verge


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Harry King

Harry King is the main author and also covers Apple and Android news for TechDomes. You can message Harry over email or Twitter.


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