App store, security coming to Google Glass
Information discovered in a firmware update point to a number of new features for the wearable computing device.
The additions, first reported bySlashgear, include what it describes as a dedicated app store called “Boutique,” to make finding applications optimized for the still essentially prototype devices easier, plus a security and tracking app that looks as if it would enable wearers to lock their device in the event of loss or theft.
The firmware updates also reveal improved media playback capabilities. According toTechCrunch, which has also picked up on the updates, the additional features highlight how far away the smart glasses are from shipping as a finished consumer product. Google has hinted that Glass won’t be ready to ship until 2014 but the tech site thinks that a number of further updates will have to come first in order to get the operating system and its features on a par with the existing Android platform.
Nevertheless, even in their current state, Google’s glasses are causing a serious stir in the world of consumer technology. However, according to a Modis survey of US consumers, much of this buzz may be less than positive. As part of the study, published in June, it conducted telephone interviews with over 1000 US consumers aged 18 and over and found that only 42 percent of respondents would consider purchasing or wearing a smartwatch, while 39 percent would consider smartglasses like Google Glass.
Young men (aged 18-34) were most likely to try the new technology — 53 percent would wear or purchase a smartwatch and 57 percent glasses but demand and interest drops off significantly with older respondents. Only 32 percent of 45-to-54-year-olds and 28 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds expressed interest in smartglasses.
Consideration also appears to be influenced by socioeconomic status. Only 34 percent of all respondents with an income of $100,000 per year or more would consider purchasing a smartwatch, compared with 47 percent of respondents with an annual salary of $35,000 or less. A similar split was found in terms of education with respondents holding a college degree the least interested in wearable technology (31% for glasses, 37% for smartwatches), compared to 45 percent of respondents who had finished education at high school who said that they would consider purchasing a smartwatch.
Nevertheless, despite this lukewarm reception in the US at least, industry analysts and research firms are predicting big things for wearable technology.
ABI Research believes that 1.2 million devices such as the Pebble Watch and Sony’s Smartwatch and Smartwatch 2 will ship before the end of 2013. Likewise, Juniper estimates that the still-fledgling industry will generate $800m in revenue this year and $1.5bn in 2014.