Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Community News Network

January 28, 2014

Can fancy frames make Google Glass go mainstream?

Google has announced a major update to its Glass headset, and it has nothing to do with its technology.

In a release Tuesday, the tech giant said that its glasses with head-mounted displays are getting four new options for frames that support prescription lenses and two new shapes for detachable sunglasses.

"This marks the next phase in the evolution of Glass as we move towards a wider consumer launch later in 2014," the company said in a list of frequently asked questions.

Google is certainly getting its ducks in a row before that much-anticipated consumer launch. And it's likely hoping that the addition of fun, hipster-ish frames will help it overcome one of the greatest obstacles facing Glass and, quite frankly, a lot of new wearable technology devices: It doesn't look so cool when you're wearing it.

In fact, it looks pretty uncool.

"Saturday Night Live" even skewered Glass users with a "Weekend Update" segment. Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch has the tendency to overwhelm the wrist of any wearer who dons its 1.63-inch screen. And while fitness wristbands have essentially defined the wearables market, similar devices that wrap around the head, sweatband style, are not nearly as stylishly appealing.

To get Glass onto the face of the average tech user and make the devices as ubiquitous as the smartphone — or, at least, the bluetooth headset? — Google has had to pour a lot of energy into making them wearable. The Glass designers were the creative minds behind the new frames, but it's no big stretch to think that fashion designers will get in on the act, as well, especially considering Glass's turn on the catwalk at Fashion Week in 2012.

Frames aside, adding more choices for prescription lenses is a smart move, since people who are already accustomed to wearing glasses won't have to leap too far to get used to wearing Glass. The firm also announced that it's working in partnership with VSP Vision to give some users a reimbursement on their Glass frames under their current insurance coverage.

That partnership also gets to the heart of the second thorny problem facing Glass: cost. Google charged its test group, called Explorers, $1,500 each to get their hands on the new devices. Analysts have said they expect those costs to come down closer to earth for the consumer launch. But there's still an obvious question about how much consumers will be willing to pay for what is still essentially an accessory for their smartphones, no matter how interesting it is.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014