Disclaimer: the following is my own opinion and does not express the official position of ELEKS or its R&D team. In fact, some of the team members argue with me a lot that Glass is the best device ever, it will conquer the world and other things like that. Of course, I'm exaggerating here a bit, but still it looks very likely for me that Glass will eventually fail as a commercial product.
So, what's the problem with Google Glass? Well, there are two aspects of it:
So, what's wrong with the device? When you watch the ads or listen to Google employees who evangelize Glass, it looks so futuristic and cool that you're starting to believe the future is here and search for the Order button. But things change when you actually get it. We bought one for our R&D team a few months ago and... well, I wouldn't say it is a big disappointment but the device is very far from being market-ready. Here is the list of 5 things that we found very annoying about Google Glass:
Today, many people believe that smartphones were invented by Apple when iPhone was launched. I believe readers of this blog don't think that way. Even though Apple had a great breakthrough and brought smartphones to the mass consumer market, there were smartphones long before iPhone was announced.
I'd like to mention four of them:
What do all these devices have in common? They were all not mass consumer market devices but oriented mainly toward business users. As technology was in its early stage of development, it was easier to make it work for a small number of professional use cases than to make it work for virtually everybody. And it is much easier to educate and engage business users when it comes to using a new device.
But even though smartphones were used relatively rarely in the pre-iPhone era, they actually did several very important things that predetermined the later success of smartphones on the mass market:
You are probably wondering why I'm talking about smartphones while this article is supposed to be about smartglasses? Because, in my opinion, Google Glass is not the iPhone of the smart-glass market. It is rather something between the Palm Pilot and the IBM Simon.
The good thing about Google Glass is that Google actually generated great momentum in the market, inspired lots of people to work on smartglasses and turned investors’ attention to this field.
There are a lot of interesting concepts around, including those that actually use Google Glass. Take, for example, ELEKS' own Google Glass Experiment – we created it to demonstrate our vision of a real-life Glass-powered game, but I must admit that it might be very hard to make it production-ready due to the limitations I mentioned above. Other great examples are the NYC Police Department experiments, Google Glass usage for surgery, logistics and warehousing and much more.
What's bad about them is that Google doesn’t position Glass as an enterprise device, so I think they'll eventually switch to competitive smartglasses that are more oriented towards the enterprise market. There are several very promising startups that make their own hardware. I personally like Lumus, but there are other examples: Meta SpaceGlasses, GlassUp, Recon Jet, to name a few. And, of course, corporations like Sony, Samsung, SAP and even BMW have also accepted the challenge.
The great thing about all these organizations is that they mostly don't work on general-purpose smartglasses that will conquer the world, but rather on more focused solutions, oriented to satisfy specific business needs. And, unlike Google Glass, they have a great chance to be successful. All those products will slowly take over the enterprise market and prepare a foundation for the future conquest of the mass consumer market. People will get used to seeing police officers wearing smartglasses and communicating with doctors in smartglasses. And then some corporation will come and push smartglasses back to the mass consumer market. It even might be Google itself, if they are still in this business by then.
Once again, I'm exaggerating a little here. Google Glass might have a bright future, but then again, it also might not. What I really believe is that in the next 5-10 years we will see numerous cases of smartglasses fantastically changing businesses, people and the entire world. The only question is will it be Google Glass or some other product? Anyway, the future is closer than you think. Stay tuned!
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