What just happened? Google Glass is dead, again. The AR glasses that failed as a consumer product before transitioning into a tool for enterprise use stopped being sold by Google on March 15. The company says it will end support on September 15.
The original Google Glass' $1,500 price tag and concerns over privacy implications meant it never caught on with customers after first arriving in 2013. But Google gave it a new lease of life as an enterprise product by 2017, releasing a second-generation model named Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 a couple of years later.
The $999 glasses are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR1 platform and feature a 1.7GHz clock speed, four cores, and an eight-hour battery life. They also come with a bigger display than the predecessor and are more comfortable to wear, making them ideal for businesses that want to use augmented reality, especially as they can withstand the rigors of work environments, according to the company. Google pushed the glasses for medical, agricultural, and factory settings.
But the Google Glass Enterprise headsets are no more. 9to5Google spotted a post on the official Glass website that thanks customers for "over a decade of innovation and partnership." It confirms that sales ended on March 15, and support will only continue up until September 15, 2023. While no software updates are planned, "support" in this instance refers to customers receiving replacement devices under the existing programs.
The headsets will continue to work after September 15 and developers will still be able to make apps for the device. Google does note, however, that the pre-installed 'Meet on Glass' videoconferencing app that launched less than a year ago could stop working after September 15.
Google told The Verge that the company is still deeply committed to AR and that it's "been building AR into many Google products and we'll continue to look at ways to bring new, innovative AR experiences across our product portfolio." So another headset, possibly the next-gen glasses that Google showed off during its I/O developer conference, might still arrive.
Augmented reality has yet to become the revolution we were once promised - most of the recent reports in this field are about the Army's problems with its Microsoft Hololens-based headsets. Even Meta, the one-time champion of all things VR and AR, isn't talking about the Metaverse as much as it once did, focusing instead on the new tech trend of adding generative AI to everything. CEO Mark Zuckerberg did, however, recently talk about the mixed reality abilities of the Meta Quest 3, which is expected to launch in late 2023 for a price between $300 and $500.