Google is giving Glass a refresh, making the wearable faster and longer-lasting, though likely to infuriate early-adopters all the same as unlike before they won’t be given the opportunity to swap to the new version. The new Glass will now have 2GB of memory – double the 1GB of RAM the current Explorer Edition model has – and the promise of around 15-percent longer battery life thanks to a combination of firmware released today and quietly-made hardware changes a few months back.
As of around March, Glass product manager Steve Lee told The Verge, Google began shipping tweaked versions of the headset with a larger capacity battery. However, he also claims that the biggest improvements have been through the iterative software updates that the Glass team has pushed out.
The increased memory, meanwhile, will mean Glassware – Google’s term of Glass apps – should load faster, not to mention allow for smoother multitasking. Lee also promises an overall “more reliable” experience.
As for software, as well as a full twelve new apps for Glass announced earlier today, Google is also pushing out new firmware with two features it says have been frequently requested by users. Perhaps the most notable is the addition of a viewfinder for the camera: saying “OK Glass, show the viewfinder” turns on the display with a preview and framing grid.
After that, saying “OK Glass, take a picture,” winking, or pressing the physical camera button will actually capture the frame. Previously, photography on Glass could be hit and miss given there was no indication of what had been snapped until after the image was taken.
Meanwhile, there are also new Google Now cards for the Glass UI, including one which will remind the wearer as to where their car is parked, and another that flags up incoming packages. Google says more cards are in the pipeline.
Unfortunately, while all Glass users will get the new firmware, the same can’t be said for the tweaked hardware. While Google allowed Explorers to swap out their first-gen Glass for an amended model free of charge last year, that won’t be offered this time around. Instead, only those who order Glass new will get the version with 2GB of RAM.