New version of Google Glass headset will have battery-saving Intel processor
Google is preparing a second generation of its Google Glass specs, potentially addressing a number of the problems that have plagued the initial release. The hardware has already been through a couple of minor tweaks since it was launched at the beginning of the year, but now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the wearable tech will be given its first major overhaul.
Perhaps the most significant development is that Google Glass 2015 will incorporate an Intel processor. It’s not clear which family of Intel processors will end up inside the specs, which are currently powered by a Texas Instruments ARM-based processor, but it’s highly likely to be the single-core Quark processors that Intel unveiled earlier this year. The processors have a maximum power consumption of only 2.2W, which should help Google address one of the biggest problems with the current Google Glass hardware: battery life.
Currently, Google Glass struggles to get through the day, turning the clip-on device into nothing but an expensive target for muggers once the sun goes down. Intel recently launched its own wearable e-bracelet, which even with a built-in display claimed to offer battery life of two days. If Google can get anywhere near that with the next generation of Google Glass, the device will become a lot more practical.
Google Glass also suffers from a lack of killer applications, with Google struggling to engender much enthusiasm for the hardware amongst the developer community. Perhaps acknowledging that the glasses aren’t quite ready for the mainstream, Google and Intel will pitch the next-gen Glass at “hospital networks and manufacturers”, while promising to deliver “new workplace uses for the device”.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the initial Google Glass hardware was the price. The Explorer edition currently costs a princely £1,000, excluding the glasses you need to clip them on to. Google earlier this year released a set of bespoke frames that can be used with prescription glasses, matching the hardware to the frames and making them a little less conspicuous, but that added another couple of hundred pounds to the bill.
Landing the Google Glass contract is a significant win for Intel, which is struggling to make headway in the mobile market. The company recently announced it was merging its loss-making mobile division with its highly profitable PC chips unit, with Intel having failed to wean smartphone and tablet manufacturers off ARM-based processors.