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Here's what Google Glass v2.0 needs

Sharon Gaudin | April 29, 2015
Add a killer app, better design and a lower price

google glass 1
Google Glass: For a very particular brand of nerd. Credit: Image: Michael Homnick

With reports that Google is developing a new version of its troubled wearable, Glass, industry watchers weighed in on what changes are needed to turn the product from being the butt of jokes to a computer that people would want to wear.

After pulling Google Glass out of the public's critical gaze this past January, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company may be close to unveiling an updated version of Glass.

That leads to the question: What will be different in this latest version?

Will it be enough to take off the tarnish that had increasingly built up around the prototype? The device initially had been met with geeky enthusiasm but then faded to the point that Glass users got the not-so-flattering nickname of Glassholes.

"I think we had recognized that the next version needs to be far more attractive and a far more shippable product," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "They've dug themselves such a deep hole with Google Glass that it will take a lot to get out of it."

Last week, Massimo Vian, CEO of the Luxottica Group, said his company is working with Google on the next version of Glass and the updated computerized eyeglasses should be out soon, the Journal reported.

Google signed on to work with Luxottica in March 2014, saying its new partner will bring "design and manufacturing expertise to the mix."

Luxottica did not respond to a request for comment.

Google would not say when a new version of the wearable might be unveiled, stating in an email only that its Glass "team is heads down building the future of the product."

With a new version of Glass in the works, Google not only has to rework its initial prototype, it has to reinvent the perception of Glass with the public.

"Google does have a shot at making this product work," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "However, their first effort has put them in the hole, user attitude-wise. Most users either felt it was an overpriced toy or an unwanted invasion of privacy. Neither attitude made Google Glass any friends."

He added the news that Luxottica's CEO is talking about making progress on the next version of Glass is a good sign that Google hasn't decided to cut its losses and shelve the product.

"It means we're going to see a 'Son of Google Glass: The Sequel,' rather than see the product fade into nothingness," Olds said. "A better looking version of Google Glass might help sales a bit, but what will be more helpful is updated hardware and software, a price drop and better functionality with other applications."


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