A new version of Google Glass, the company’s breakthrough entry into the world of wearable tech, is on the way.
Current testers, or “Explorers,” in Google’s parlance, will get a chance to swap out their current models for the new ones, the company said in a Google+ post.
The new Google Glass hardware will work with eyeglasses or shades, and include an ear bud to replace the speaker in the current model. The bone-conduction speaker, which, similar to some hearing aids, literally sends sound waves through the skull to the ear, has been called faulty by some testers.
The swap begins Friday and testers will have 60 days to decide if they want new Glass.
The roughly 10,000 current testers also be able to invite up to three friends into the program, which requires testers to fork over the current $1,500 price of the glasses.
“Over the next few weeks, all Explorers will have the opportunity to invite three friends to join the program,” the post said. “They’ll be able to buy Glass online and can have it shipped to their home, office, treehouse or igloo. We’re counting on you to get Glass to the people you think will make great Explorers.”
Google has not said when Glass will go on sale to the general public, though it is expected to be some time next year.
Google Glass, worn like regular glasses, has a high-resolution display and lets wearers use voice commands to shoot photos or videos and access features like e-mail, text messaging, Google Maps, Google search and a handful of other apps.
It’s not clear what hardware changes will be made to make the new Glass work better with other eyeglasses, though some in the tech press were speculating that users will be able to insert prescription lenses into it. It’s possible to wear both Glass and eyeglasses currently, though many users who have tried have called it awkward.
The post didn’t say how the overall design of Glass will be tweaked in the next version. Looking a little bit like something out of an ‘80s sci-fi movie, some have said the device looks ... well ... goofy, at least on the sometimes geekish early adopters who have been sporting them.
Glass has been a groundbreaker in wearable tech, a movement that’s shaping up to be the coming wave in the technology world.
Samsung has weighed in with Galaxy Gear, a smartwatch that works with its Android smartphones.
Google and Apple are believed to be joining the smartwatch market soon, and Pebble and Sony are just a couple of the other names that have wristwatch tech for sale.
Doug Gross | CNN