Last week Google announced that it was pulling the plug on its pet project – Google Glass. This latest marketing ploy suggests that the tech giant didn’t fully understand what value Google Glass would have in the electronics world.
The device which consists of a glasses-like frame with a small screen above the user’s right eye, promised to deliver multiple, revolutionary hands-free applications. Whilst this may sound like a step forward for gadgetry fans, Glass simply didn’t compete in the tasks that smart phones, tablets and the soon to be released apple watch have become so adept in performing. Google Glass in fact lacked all the innovation required in order to make it a genuine consumer-focused gadget.
Many people have argued that Glass is a visionary product ahead of its time, much like the microwave ovens produced in the 1940’s for restaurants, which at the time was the only viable option due to their size and weight and a cost of around £2500.00. Jump to the year 2015 and there are probably very few homes in the UK which don’t own a microwave.
But the positives of Glass are sorely outweighed by its inadequacies. The most glaring pit fall for Google is the price tag – it just didn’t anticipate that few people would want to pay or could afford $1,500.00 to parade in public with a particularly unfashionable device wrapped around their eyes that on-lookers might perceive as either a privacy threat or a pretentious geeky gadget.
Google also seemed to have missed the point that to most consumers fashion ultimately matters more than functionality. Google tried to make up for this by offering designer-quality frames but it ultimately still looked more like a medical device than mainstream eyewear. Google obviously didn’t see the insult “Glasshole” coming either!
The number one complaint however is that the glasses just don’t last long enough. Due to the need for a small battery – battery life is minimal, and therein lies the problem of having a device that wouldn’t last a day out of the office or indeed a shift in a warehouse without requiring re-charging.
Some may point to this as an experiment by Google who were simply testing the market waters ready for the device’s mainstream use further down the road. In fact we may well see the technology behind Google Glass emerge as something else in the future. Whatever incarnation Google Glass ultimately re-emerges as, it’s going to have to tackle the issues that held it back this time if it ever wants a shot at being considered a ‘must have’ item.
26th January 2015