Though Google pulled its consumer version of the AR glasses, it has been experimenting with enterprise versions for businesses, such as Samsung and Volkswagen, to use in industries including logistics and manufacturing.
That’s why it is releasing a new version, named Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, which will cost $999 . The new glasses are built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform, featuring a more powerful processing unit and a new artificial intelligence (AI) engine. Google says this will enable enhanced performance and advanced machine learning capabilities.
The camera performance has been improved from the original version, as well as the addition of faster charging and increased overall battery life.
The Edition 2 design is thicker and bulkier than before, thanks to that larger battery. But, Google says it partnered with the glasses company Smith Optics to ensure it is a fairly lightweight product with compatible safety frames that are suitable for use in manufacturing and maintenance environments.
As part of the new wearable specs, Google is also pulling Glass out of X, the Alphabet moonshot factory which works on radical and experimental technologies, and bringing it into mainstream production. This is because the company wants to meet the “growing demand for wearables in the workplace”.
By shifting into the work space, Google Glass 2 will be poised to compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens, the mixed-reality enterprise headset. But what HoloLens does is more focused on the “hologram” side of things, with the recent version of the headset allowing you to interact and touch holograms for the first time.
It’s good to see Google Glass live on after its halcyon days of 2014, particularly as other companies are moving into the AR glasses space. At CES earlier this year, Vuzix released its Blade AR smart glasses, which were described as “the next-gen Google Glass we’ve all been waiting for.”
The glasses feature an 8-megapixel camera, Amazon Alexa for hands-free use, and prescription inserts so you can wear them without glasses.