Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

January 28, 2014

Can fancy frames make Google Glass go mainstream?

Google has announced a major update to its Glass headset, and it has nothing to do with its technology.

In a release Tuesday, the tech giant said that its glasses with head-mounted displays are getting four new options for frames that support prescription lenses and two new shapes for detachable sunglasses.

"This marks the next phase in the evolution of Glass as we move towards a wider consumer launch later in 2014," the company said in a list of frequently asked questions.

Google is certainly getting its ducks in a row before that much-anticipated consumer launch. And it's likely hoping that the addition of fun, hipster-ish frames will help it overcome one of the greatest obstacles facing Glass and, quite frankly, a lot of new wearable technology devices: It doesn't look so cool when you're wearing it.

In fact, it looks pretty uncool.

"Saturday Night Live" even skewered Glass users with a "Weekend Update" segment. Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch has the tendency to overwhelm the wrist of any wearer who dons its 1.63-inch screen. And while fitness wristbands have essentially defined the wearables market, similar devices that wrap around the head, sweatband style, are not nearly as stylishly appealing.

To get Glass onto the face of the average tech user and make the devices as ubiquitous as the smartphone — or, at least, the bluetooth headset? — Google has had to pour a lot of energy into making them wearable. The Glass designers were the creative minds behind the new frames, but it's no big stretch to think that fashion designers will get in on the act, as well, especially considering Glass's turn on the catwalk at Fashion Week in 2012.

Frames aside, adding more choices for prescription lenses is a smart move, since people who are already accustomed to wearing glasses won't have to leap too far to get used to wearing Glass. The firm also announced that it's working in partnership with VSP Vision to give some users a reimbursement on their Glass frames under their current insurance coverage.

That partnership also gets to the heart of the second thorny problem facing Glass: cost. Google charged its test group, called Explorers, $1,500 each to get their hands on the new devices. Analysts have said they expect those costs to come down closer to earth for the consumer launch. But there's still an obvious question about how much consumers will be willing to pay for what is still essentially an accessory for their smartphones, no matter how interesting it is.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks