Google’s first attempt at a “pseudo AR” eyewear may have been too far ahead of its time. Google Glass as a consumer and even an educational product flopped because of limited practical value, price, and privacy concerns. Thanks to a resurgence of interest in AR, Google Glass found a new purpose and a new lease on life in an Enterprise Edition. Now that gear can be purchased from select retailers but you’d really need to have a use for it bite into that offer.
Make no mistake, this Google Glass is not for consumers nor for the resource-constrained. The “Enterprise Edition 2” name clearly points its purpose and the $1,000 marks it as something only a few will be able to afford. Admittedly, this latest iteration looks more refined than the very first Google Glass pairs but it’s nothing you can disguise, which is probably for the best.
Google says that interest in the EE2 glasses spiked and remained strong ever since it launched last May. Businesses, especially those in industrial businesses, see Google Glass as lightweight tools for training or augmented information where holding a phone is not ideal or even dangerous. These very specific use cases don’t suffer from the hurdles that the consumer Google Glass failed to overcome, like privacy and general usefulness.
That said, even Google Glass EE2 offers only the hardware and the Android-based platform, requiring applications to be developed for those specific use cases. Unfortunately, developers making those apps had a difficult time acquiring these devices for testing, which is why Google is now opening the doors to resellers without having to go through “solution providers”.
Whether that will help increase interest in the device despite the price will largely depend on how many companies will want to spend $1,000 for a pair. While Google Glasses have the advantage of simplicity and portability, the likes of the HoloLens may offer more functionality in the long run but at the expense of price, heft, and connectivity to a PC.