One of the more hush-hush projects from deep within the Google campus is reportedly a set of Android-powered heads-up display glasses, and they’ve been the talk of tech town for the last couple of months. Certain aspersions to Terminator were made, not to mention augmented reality. The New York Times was the original source for this rumor, and they’ve apparently got someone on the inside – but that someone seems to have an issue with specifics. The latest bit of news on the “Google Glasses” is that they’ll come before the end of 2012, and at a price between $250 and $600 USD. Precision is our watchword, folks.
With all this rumor coming out of the Google X team, it would seem that there’s got to be something to it. Last we heard, the Google Glasses looked a lot like Oakley’s old Thump Mp3 glasses (see above) and used a single, non-transparent screen visible to one eye. A camera allows for basic augmented reality functions, plus still photos and video, with an Android-powered interface that’s navigated by slight head motion. The Glasses are said to be separate from a smartphone (they have a stand-alone data connection and can make calls) but can probably communicate with other Android devices.
A nearly ten-month period and a price that ranges $350 isn’t much to go on. It’s certainly believable that Google wants to wait until late this year to push them out – there’s a lot of software to develop, and they have no reason to rush – it’s less believable that it’s right around the corner. There could be a good reason for that large price range, too. Anything as complicated as video glasses combined with a smartphone would be very expensive to design and manufacture: the miniaturization alone could account for a big part of that price. The question is, how much would Google want to theoretically subsidize? The company gave away tens of thousands of CR-48 laptops to get Chrome OS rolling, at a cost of at least a couple of hundred dollars a unit. Would the company spend millions of its own money to help Google Goggles find a foothold in the consumer space?
Consider all of this rumor for now, ladies and gentlemen. We haven’t seen any hard evidence of hardware or software, and while I’d love to run around with data streaming right to my eyeballs 24/7 (please, someone make a facial recognition/contacts manager for this) I won’t get my hopes up. Much.