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
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

  • State lawmakers tweak gun regulations

    Obtaining a concealed carry weapons license within the Commonwealth of Kentucky is not a simple task.

    July 16, 2014

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks