You've probably heard that Google Glass is dead.
Well, it isn't.
It's alive and well and supposedly headed toward a second version that'll be released sometime this year. A new FCC filing supposedly for the device has even revealed what it will likely feature. Unfortunately, there's so much misinformation going around about Google Glass that it's hard to keep the facts straight.
In order to help you understand what's happening exactly, Pocket-lint thought it was time to go over every detail. We've discussed the history of Google Glass, as well as what the next-generation device might feature, and more.
What is Google Glass?
Google Glass is a wearable device in the form of optical head-mounted display. A consumer version has yet to become available, though recent leaks and rumours have indicated one could be on the way.
Google first showed off Glass in April 2012, when it released photos and a concept video in order to preview its long-rumored foray into building a space-age pair of spectacles. The video, called Project Glass: One Day..., depicted what a day in the life of a Google glasses-wearer could be like in downtown New York.
Google unveiled the first prototype - then called Project Glass - during a scene-stealing demo at Google I/O 2012, in which the company hosted a live Hangout between skydivers who parachuted from a blimp in the sky to the Moscone Center. Upon landing, they ran indoors to join Google's cofounder on stage.
The Explorer Programme launched in the US in 2013, giving developers the chance to buy Glass for $1,500 (£990). They started to receive their first devices by 2014, which led to a rise in privacy concerns as well as the term "glasshole" (it's used to describe people who do not use Glass in a socially-acceptable manner).
By early 2015, the Glass team had exited Google X, and Tony Fadell, the chief executive of Nest, which Google acquired, took charge of the fledging project. Google made it seem like the transition was all part of the plan, but several reports, including the BBC, declared that Glass - as we knew it - was dead.
Is Google Glass 2 in the works?
Yes. And here's what we know so far...
Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, told The Wall Street Journal in March 2015 that Google didn't scrap Google Glass because it's "too important". The company merely stopped the Explorer Programme, with the idea that Google Glass would transition from being a Google X prototype to a standalone unit.
Tony Fadell, the head of Google’s Nest connected home division, now heads Google Glass and is hoping to make it ready for users: “It is a big and very fundamental platform for Google," Schmidt explained. "We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true."
While speaking at the Google Zeitgeist conference in the UK, Fadell said that there would be "no sacred cows" as the company rethinks Google Glass, meaning one or more of the technologies/designs used originally could be ditched altogether - regardless of how much they cost Google for development.
"We’ve decided to go and look at every detail, have no sacred cows and figure out the way forward," he said. "I have a really engaged team, they’re really excited about the future and expect more things to come soon."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the CEO of Italian eyewear maker Luxottica - one of Google's partners - said that the next generation of Glass would be out soon, and that the company was continuing the partnership announced last year in order to make the next Glass a bit more stylish and fashionable.
The CEO said he went to California to meet Glass’ new team, but he didn’t confirm any details about specific timing for the launch of the next version of the product. That said, during a shareholders meeting, he revealed: "In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version three [of Glass]..."
He continued: "What you saw was version one. We're now working on version two, which is in preparation." We're not sure what he meant by a third version of Glass when the second model hasn't been released yet, but now we figure Luxottica is helping Google determine how to make people want to wear Glass.
What might Google Glass 2 feature?
Little is known about the next version of Google Glass 2.
We know Google says it's developing the wearable, and that's about it. Well, a new US Federal Communications Commission filing, which went live in July, has supposedly shed more light. Droid Life spotted the filing and claimed it proves Google has a new product in the works. It might be Glass 2.
The device isn't labeled as a smartphone or wearable, but rather something new and unusual: “BLUETOOTH & DTS/UNII a/b/g/n/ac” with model name “GG1". Could GG1 stand for the first consumer version of Google Glass?
The device supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi in 2.4GHz and 5GHz and Bluetooth LE. It also features rechargeable, non-removable batteries and comes with an AC charger and USB cable (when connected to a PC, it can provide a “path for charging and data transfer"). Keep in mind this device could still be something else.
Droid Life noted the filing mentioned ways to scroll around the interface in order to access the FCC e-label embedded in the software. The e-label is a black rectangle, and it looks like a screen from Google Glass.
Update: 9to5Google has supposedly confirmed an "Enterprise Edition" of Google Glass is on the way - and that device has support for 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi on both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands.
The Wall Street Journal claimed Google is ditching the Texas Instrument processor found in the first version of Google Glass, in favour of an Intel chip. Intel also plans on helping Google push Glass to hospital networks and manufacturers.
What is the 'Enterprise Edition' of Glass?
9to5Google has reported that the next version of Glass won't be a “Google Glass 2.0″, but rather an incremental upgrade called “Enterprise Edition”. The website described the device as a spinoff of the Explorer Edition (XE) designed for the enterprise market. It doesn't even look very different from the Explorer Edition.
It has computer hardware sitting along the right side, just like XE did, as well as a prism over the right eye and a band that goes around the forehead and left ear. The new version will be different from the XE version in that it has a hinge mechanism that allows the computer, battery modules, and sides of the band to fold down like a pair of glasses.
The entire design is also more durable and meant to withstand rugged environments, such as a factory, as the device is designed for the workplace now instead of just for fashion-conscious consumers. Other differences include a larger prism display, an Intel Atom processor, and improved battery life and heat management.
The Wall Street Journal has weighed in on this new version as well, seemingly verifying that the wearable computer will be aimed at businesses in industries such as health care. The unit also won't have a wire-like frame but will instead have a button-and-hinge system, allowing it to be folded up just like an actual pair of glasses.
It will also feature a new Intel processor, a larger, thinner display prism, an external battery, and bolstered wireless connectivity, and more. Google is reportedly hoping to quietly distribute it to businesses by this autumn.
When will Google Glass 2 launch?
Google Glass 2 is rumoured to arrive in 2015. Due to a report by The Wall Street Journal, everyone had assumed Google would unveil it at Google I/O in May 2015. But that conference came and went without any sign of the device.
9to5Google said Google is planning to distribute the device through a certified set of Glass for Work partners, and that would mean no retail availability or marketing. Keep in mind Google X's Astro Teller said in an interview earlier this year the Explorer Edition was never supposed to be pitched as a consumer product either.
Want to know more?
Pocket-lint has a Google Glass hub with all the latest news about the device.