Google Glass might be losing some of its supporters lately but it has gained a somewhat surprising new ally. Insider sources claim that Google will be replacing the Texas Instruments processor with a still unnamed Intel mobile chip. At least, for the next iteration of Google Glass, a wearable device that has yet to see the light of day in retail. The new alliance is both fitting and rather unusual, given how the companies each have their own struggles in that specific corner of the market.
On the one hand, you have Google and its smart spectacle. After a period of hype, enjoyed mostly by the technology-lowing crowd, Glass has started to mellow down to the point of becoming worrying. As if it didn’t have enough problems with privacy and driving safety concerns, even from its own ranks, people are starting to wonder if Google Glass will ever become a serious consumer product. Google, of course, says its committed to that goal, and yet the lack of a solid retail schedule doesn’t inspire much confidence.
On the other hand, you have Intel. The chip maker has a kingdom on desktops, laptops, and servers, but it has failed to win the hearts of the mobile device market. No matter how much they try, they have not been able to come close to competing with the rival ARM architecture in that space. Time for Plan B, which is to try and make headway into wearables, a market that is still too new to have a clear winner, though ARM does have a head start by virtue of already being the go to guy on mobile. Intel’s Quark, Edison, and, most recently, the luxury MICA bracelet are all part of its attempt to gain ground in that market.
At this point, it isn’t yet known what the new Intel-powered Google Glasses will have over the TI version, at least from a strictly system-on-chip perspective, though there has been word that it will have something to do with power. One of the biggest criticisms levied against Glass, aside from looking totally geeky, is that its battery life is far too short. The Intel chip is expected to perform much better, giving more than the average 1 day performance of the current chip. Some, however, might point out that Intel’s mobile chips aren’t exactly known for their power efficiency, though they are touted to be getting better.
The biggest question, however, is “when”. Intel is more focused on an application of Glass in the workplace, like in health or industrial scenarios, which chimes with Google’s own Glass for Work initiative. However, Google still envisions Glass as a consumer product, but the window of opportunity for that is closing really fast.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal