Google Glass will not have a cellular data connection, at least initially, meaning wearers of the augmented reality system will need to rely on WiFi or tethering to get online. The headset demonstrated at Google IO yesterday includes only WiFi and Bluetooth technologies, not 3G or 4G despite early rumors, with senior industrial designer on the Google Glass project Isabelle Olsson confirming to ABC News that users out of hotspot range will need to tether to their smartphone for WWAN access.
Talk of an integrated cellular link first began prior to Google making Project Glass public, when rumors of the wearable display initially broke. Then, it was suggested that Google would equip the headset with either 3G or 4G connectivity, making the unit as a whole self-contained.
Whether that was ever true or not is unclear – Google could have attempted to include WWAN but decided to drop it over battery or size concerns, perhaps – but the current iteration lacks it, according to Olsson. The designer declined to give battery life estimates, though fellow project member Sergey Brin was overheard suggesting a roughly six hour runtime in a post-keynote meeting.
Google was forced to use USB connection tethering with Glass for its live-streamed skydiving stunt, having found the WiFi could not handle the extreme conditions. Otherwise the components are much akin to a regular smartphone, all contained in the oversized arm of the glasses.