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Google Glass Explorer Edition getting updated XE5 software, brings with it new features and enhancements
We're a bit in love with Google Glass. We're closely following along the progress made by Glass and are happy to report that it is receiving a software update that brings with it a bunch of new features. According to Google, the update brings with it a host of changes, including crash reporting.
- Change to sync policy: require power + wifi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
One interesting change worth noting is that background syncing now requires the device to be on a local Wi-Fi network and plugged into power. We imagine this is to increase the rather short battery life, but can't confirm this as the reason. Other notable changes include the addition of Google+ notifications.
If you have an Explorer Edition in your possession, simply plug it into a power source and Google should take care of the rest.
iPhone users rejoice! Google Glass will soon add more support for iPhones, allowing the iOS-powered smartphone to be paired with Glass in more ways. The important support coming to Glass will allow the headset to access your iPhone's text messages and navigation, two useful features of Glass.
While Glass will happily work with any iPhone over Bluetooth or use any Wi-Fi connection to get online, iPhone users are currently unable to get turn-by-turn directions through Glass - one of its killer features. Those direction are pretty useful while you are navigating a new city and they do show off the power of location-based apps on Glass, but the software will currently balk if you ask it to give you directions while it's connected to an iPhone.
Current Glass compatibility with iPhone is rather limited; Glass can pair up with an iPhone through Bluetooth for data tethering, but that's about it. Bringing support for text messages and navigation is a huge boost and will open up the potential Glass market when they launch sometime next year.
The Explorer Edition of Google Glass was not an easy thing to get your hands on. One Australian hacker couldn't wait for the consumer version to be released, so he did what any self-respecting maker would do: he produced his own cloned version of Google Glass and called it Flass. Flass is a combination of 'fake' and 'glass.'
Flass certainly isn't as refined as Google Glass, but it does get the job done. Ash_Williams, the creator of Flass, has gone through four iterations of the clone, each one becoming more refined. Flass, however, isn't quite as wireless as Google Glass. Currently, the system is controlled by a small keyboard.
He is currently working on another prototype, hopefully with an integrated camera. Ash_Williams also has a 3D-printed version of the Google Glass frame on its way, meaning this clone could soon look a lot more like Google Glass.
Google has posted up a short How-To introduction for Glass. The video, which only has a runtime of just over a minute, shows how to control Glass with the touchpad. It also gives a brief introduction to the UI, which are called cards. Take a look at the video for yourself:
It would definitely appear that more Google Glass How-To videos will be coming soon. These videos are definitely a great way to get the general public interested in the rather expensive headset. I know this got me extremely excited for Glass.
The video does stay away from situations that could result in some embarrassment, such as giving voice commands to Glass. I'll be really interested to see more of these videos. What did you think of it?
Google Glass developer says they intentionally left Glass unlocked, adds "FFS, you paid $1500 for it... go to town on it"
Google Glass can't get here soon enough, but now there's cause for celebration. Google developer Stephen Lau took to his Google+ page to talk about Glass, and how they "intentionally left the device unlocked" so that "you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it". His full quote:
Not to bring anybody down... but seriously... we intentionally left the device unlocked so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it. I mean, FFS, you paid $1500 for it... go to town on it. Show me something cool.
I think it's great that Google are leaving it unlocked, and I truly can't wait to see what developers can do with an unlocked wearable computer. Keep in mind that there is a difference between 'unlocked' and 'rooting', which you can read about on Lau's Google+ page where people are getting quite heated over the topic.
At least one Google Glass Explorer Edition owner has been doing some digging. Jay Lee, a hacker who got his hands on a pair of Google Glass, managed to connect Glass up to Google's ADB software and dig through the debug data to find out what operating system and hardware was powering the wearable device.
According to the ADB printout, Google Glass Explorer Editions are running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. They are powered by an OMAP 4430 CPU, which is a dual-core in the same family as the processor used in the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. The ADB printout returned that the system has 682MB of RAM, though Lee believes it's more likely 1GB with some reserved for hardware.
We'll surely be getting more information as Glass gets into the hands of more developers and hackers. Until then, feel free to dig through the information Lee has posted on a Google Drive.
If you're looking forward to taking video with your shiny new Google Glass headset, I've got some bad news. According to Robert Scoble, a user with the Explorer Edition of Google Glass, shooting video can drain the battery in as little as 30 minutes. "One six-minute video I did took 20 percent of the battery."
This could end up being a deal breaker for a large majority of customers. Google has maintained that the Explorer Edition of Glass isn't for the mainstream consumer. As such, it's not the final version and still has bugs and issues to work out.
Google does have an issue with regards to battery life. They need to squeeze the most out of the smallest battery they can. If they increase the size of the battery, that extra weight takes away from the comfort during wearing.
Google Glass and its competitors' devices to be big sellers by 2016 - more than 9 million devices expected to ship by 2016
Google Glass, and their sure to be following competitors, are definitely set to be the new smartphone craze. Research firm IHS knows this, and has predicted that shipments of smart glasses could hit 9.4 million units between 2012 and 2016.
The first shipments will be small, with expectations of around 124,000 units this year as Google Glass becomes available to developers. Adoption is set to really ramp up going into 2014, expected to push up by 250% as Glass becomes available to you and me, the general public. Google will of course push Glass in the market, which will have competitors' devices gain market share too, with combined sales reaching 6.6 million units per year by 2016.
If smart glasses are too expensive to the general public, these numbers could be much lower with IHS estimating shipments could be as low as a million units through 2016.
We all know Apple will come out this year with a magical, and revolutionary new device that they'll think they were the first, and only company to think of - and it'll arrive as the iWatch.
Well, this so-called iWatch, or whatever Apple call it, will be a hit with North American consumers according to a survey taken by ChangeWave Research. Their survey shows that around one in five Americans are either "somewhat" or "very" likely to buy an Apple-branded smartwatch when (and at the moment, if) it's even released.
ChangeWave director of operations, Andy Golub, told PCMag - who reported about the survey - that the upcoming, but rumored "smartwatch" is a testament to Apple's huge brand strength with consumers and that "Apple's track record of delivering ultra-convenient, easy to use products with a perceived 'cool factor' is driving pre-release demand".
Code found in the Google Glass companion app seems to indicate that Google will be allowing Glass users to take pictures by simply winking. Of course, with this comes numerous different issues. For instance, it'd be nearly impossible for people to tell that someone was taking a picture, which is already a problem with the advent of cell phones.
The problem of unwanted photographs in already such a problem in South Korea that cell phone manufacturers are required to program cameras to make a shutter sound that can't be disabled by users. At the same time, hands free functionality such as this would be beautiful for taking pictures while doing things with your hands.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of taking pictures by winking? Should Google be required to have Glass make a shutter sound?