Google Glasses – The Next Computing Paradigm?

February 6, 2012
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There’s something big coming, and that’s the Google Glasses. I don’t know exactly what the next “personal computing” paradigm will be, but I know that it needs to be even more personal (mainframe-to-minicomputer-to-PC-to-laptop-to-smartphone – all were ever more personal), more mobile, and also cheaper. If I was trying to find out what’s the next computing paradigm, I would go with something that we use even closer to our bodies than laptops or smartphones – it has to touch the skin somehow.

A lot of unexpected gadgets could take that place, that we don’t even know about right now, but if I were to bet which one it will be from current technological products, I’d have to go with glasses (2nd choice would be smart watches). It’s the easier choice and the one that makes the most sense – as long as they make it work properly.

To be honest, I would’ve expected something like this until around 2015 or so but maybe Google managed to do what Apple did in 2007 – surprise the industry with a product that is years ahead of its time. Some Google employees have been working on extremely cutting edge technologies for years now, as part of the Google X project. They’ve been working on self-driving cars, AI that can be 93% indistinguishable from humans in conversation, and now what’s probably the next computing paradigm – smart glasses.

Here’s what some rumor said about them in December:

They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear.  However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface.  There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses.  Additionally, we are not sure of the technology being employed here, but it is likely a transparent LCD or AMOLED display such as the one demonstrated below:

In addition, we have heard that this device is not an “Android peripheral” as the NYT stated.  According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP. Although, the “Google Goggles”  could use a phone’s Internet connection, through Wi-Fi or a low power Bluetooth 4.0.

The use-case is augmented reality that would tie into Google’s location services.  A user can walk around with information popping up and into display -Terminator-style- based on preferences, location and Google’s information.

Therefore, these things likely connect to the Internet and have GPS.  They also likely run a version of Android.

The specs are also said to include a lower-end camera with only a few megapixels (can’t ask for too much in the first generation), only one generation behind processor, probably 1 Ghz Cortex A8, but I think Cortex A7 would be perfect for this (smaller, cheaper, more efficient). But that might not arrive until the next-gen device. It will also have around 256 MB of RAM, and probably 4-8 Gb of internal storage. The device will probably have Internet connection, too, so it might come with a 3G/4G chip built right into it. Hopefully that doesn’t mean a 2 year contract as well, unless they are given for free with the contract.

The display/lenses should be transparent (Samsung did show some transparent OLED displays last year), although some rumors say one of the lenses (where the HUD interface will be) might not be transparent, at least not in this generation. It will probably run Android, or some heavily modified and minimized version of it, so it consumes the least amount of energy. I can’t imagine having a too large battery in them, and they should last you for at least 5 hours with constant use of the HUD.

The device will be voice controlled (Majel?), because obviously that makes the most sense for it, until we can mind-control devices. If it does have a personal assistant in it, it would be pretty great, because it will always be inside your ear, and guiding you, whether it’s telling you if a product you’re looking at is cheap enough, or some other store next to it has it for a lower price, or if it’s giving you directions (it should have GPS, too), and so on. The applications are quite endless for such a “personal” device that comes with a virtual personal assistant.

Whether this will work out great or not in practice, I can’t wait to see what Google has done with it. And if the first generation is good enough, imagine how good the 2nd or 3rd generation will be – more powerful specs, better displays, slimmer glasses and more polished design, and so on.

 

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