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Wearable computing is really taking off this year, first we have the launch of Google Glass later in the year, but we're also going to see smartwatches gain some serious traction in the coming months. Market research firm ABI Research are predicting that smartwatches will see an explosion of sales this year, where they expect sales of 1.2 million smartwatches in 2013. Senior analyst Joshua Flood said:
The strong potential emergence of smartwatches can be attributed to several reasons. Contributing factors include the high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low-cost of MEMS sensors, energy-efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem.
Will you be buying a smartwatch this year? Personally, I'm not a watch wearing type of guy, but Google Glass? Shut up and take my money.
It's no doubt that Google Glass is the hottest tech topic of 2013 - it has overshadowed smartphone launches, and made headlines internet wide whenever an appearance in the public is made. This morning Redmond Pie stumbled across what appears to be the first unboxing of Google's coolest project to date.
YouTuber Dan McLauglin managed to get his hands on a Google Glass set and like any good techie, he has posted a full unboxing video for all of us to drool over. The video while low quality even at 720p, lends some insight into what we can expect when the device goes retail later this year.
Below is a video that shows Glass being used in the real world at an indoor go kart track. While the entire project is quite impressive, the video stabilization capabilities of Google Glass really impressed me the most. This has been something I have been worried about since the project's first announcement.
Google Glass shipments have started, and now we already have the Explorer Edition getting the unboxing treatment along with a slew of photographs. Unfortunately, it wasn't me doing the unboxing, sob.
The glasses include a microUSB cable and charger, a pouch and shades. One of the users have noted that users can send navigation directions directly from their smartphone to Glass, which is something I expected, but is now confirmed.
Google Glass units roll off the production line for the first time, will be shipped to Explorer access members
The first batch of Google Glass units have just rolled off the production line, and will be shipped to the early Explorer Edition members. This should happen over the coming weeks.
The coming weeks should be exciting times, as developers get their hands (or is that eyes) on Google Glass. We should expect many more news tidbits to come out, with a much closer, and more personal look at the Glass unit itself. I really wish I had spent the money to acquire a pair of glasses at the time of Google I/O, damn it.
Google have finally unveiled the full specifications of their Glass tech, which is actually a bit better than what I thought we'd receive in the final consumer units.
We have the display first, which is a high-resolution display being the equivalent to a 25-inch high-definition screen eight feet away from your eyes. Camera-wise, we have a 5-megapixel camera for photos and 720p capture for video, there's some adjustable nosepads with a durable frame that fits any face. There's also two extra nosepads included.
We have a Bond Conduction Transducer for audio, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth for connectivity, 12GB of usable memory synced with Google cloud storage, 16GB of flash memory total. Battery life should be good, with Google quoting "one full day of typical use", which includes Hangouts and video recording which are more battery intensive.
If you were lucky enough to jump into the Google Glass Explorer program, you'll get your Google Glasses before Google I/O. They may have cost you $1500, but it looks like you'll have your wearable Glass product within the next month.
The news comes from TechCrunch during today's "Glass Collective" event with Google Ventures. This means we should see some quick apps thrown together in time for Google I/O, and enough time to wish that I plonked down $1500 last year, sigh.
Good guy Google have announced that their upcoming wearable project, Glass, will be manufactured in the United States. The manufacturing will be done by Hon Hai Precision Industry, aka Foxconn, at a factory in Santa Clara, California.
President Obama himself has asked for more manufacturing to be done in the US, where we've already seen Apple investing $100 million in American manufacturing. I think this is a great step by Google to get some manufacturing done in the US and I still can't wait to try out Glass for myself.
Google Glass isn't even here yet and we're already seeing lawmakers make their movies. West Virginia lawmakers are trying to push in a new bill that would make it illegal to drive while "using a wearable computer with head mounted display."
The news comes from CNET, from a piece by Chris Matyszczyk, where he received an e-mail from Gary G. Howell, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature. The e-mail read "your article on Google Glass prompted this bill." Matyszczyk asked Howell how this had all of the sudden transpired, but Howell isn't totally against Glass, telling Matyszczyk:
I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension.
We know that Apple are working on a smart watch, but now their biggest competitor in the mobile OS department is reportedly joining the wearable computing rumors.
The Financial Times have a source who has said that Google is looking at entering the smart watch market, but the device isn't being worked on by their X Labs department, but rather their Android department. There's no concrete information to go on here, but it would be an Android-powered smart watch according to The Financial Times' sources.
I'm sure we'll see Google put all of their power into Glass first, as that is going to be their true moment in the spotlight.
I wish this were me doing the video, but I'll continue to dream for now. The team at Oculus have received their first Rift off the production line, and have done a nice unboxing video for the world.
They've also taken the time to announce through the Oculus blog that developer kits will begin shipping to the earliest Kickstarter backers by March 29. Once the dev kit ships to the backer, they'll receive an e-mail confirmation so that they can track their Rift as it is shipping to their door. Oculus expect to deliver between 1000-1500 units per week until they've fulfilled all of their orders.
The Oculus Rift developer kit comes with a plethora of goodies, including:
- 1x Rift Development Kit + Control Box (6ft cable)
- 1x Hard-Shell Case
- 1x 3ft Mini USB Cable
- 1x 3ft DVI Cable
- 1x 3ft HDMI Cable
- 1x 6ft HDMI Cable
- 1x HDMI / DVI Adapter
- 3x Pairs of Lens Cups (Focal Adjustment)
- 1x Power Cord with Adapter
- 3x International Plug Adapters
It's great to see Oculus taking care of international users, including 3 international plug adapters. It's these little things that show they're listening to users, and helping out in anyway they can to make developing on the Rift as easy as possible.