In 2013, technology is all about mobility. Tablets and smartphones are now extremely popular, and more and more people are looking for light and portable ultrabooks and laptops. But while most consumers are looking to find the best tablet (whether by Lenovo, Acer, or Samsung) or the next great smartphone, Google’s X Lab has developed its first original hardware product: Google Glass, a device that takes portable technology to the next level with its head-mounted display. Why not simply wear your computer while keeping your hands free? Google Glass is voice-activated, configured by an Android app and connected to your Google account – every picture or video made will be instantly uploaded to an album, which you can access from your tablet or laptop.The company promises one remarkable full day of battery life and up to 16 GB of inner storage – and there is no need for in-ear headphones, since sound waves are delivered directly into the inner ear. Google Glass aims to be perfectly integrated into everyday life, offering its users the opportunity to communicate, share and inform themselves on the go without having to stop and possibly miss out on life while operating the Glass.
Shipping has started for the first devices, and at a cost of $1500 they are currently being sent out to users who won a competition to explore the Glass, as well as to developers working on apps for the smart glasses.The latter must adjust to Google’s terms of service for the Glass. Technical specifications published on 16April emphasise that developers cannot include any kind of advertisement within the display, or make use of user data for advertising purposes. Charging fees for downloading Glass apps is also forbidden. It will certainly be interesting to see how developers will be able to make profit from their Google Glass apps.
Those few lucky ones who own a pair of Google glasses at this point can under no circumstances resell or even lend them to someone else. Google retains control of their new devices even after the transaction has been completed, reserving the right to deactivate the device if necessary. One of the winners of February’s “Glass Explorers” contest learned this the hard way. Having no idea that he would not be able to sell his Google Glass device, he started an auction on eBay for the glasses. After eventually seeing the terms of service, he decided to stop the auction so as to not ruin his chances at actually receiving a pair. At that point, the auction price for Google eyewear was already more than $90,000. These rules might sound odd – why shouldn’t you be able to do whatever you want with something that you have paid for? If the device contains software, the producer can prohibit the gadget’s resale and even loan. We will see if Google will keep up these restrictions even after the product enters the open market.