Google’s Glass Explorer program may be dead, but the ill-fated face computer—now under the care of Nest CEO Tony Fadell—is very much alive. An FCC filing published on Monday shows the next version of Google Glass in precise detail, giving the world a closer glimpse at a reboot that appears destined for workplace productivity scenarios.
As you can see from the FCC photos here, it appears one manifestation of the Google Glass redux lacks a nose bridge, and doesn’t wrap fully around the user’s face. Moreover, the assembly that holds the glass prism can fold down against the earpiece.
Just push the hinge down, and pop Glass into your pocket protector—or so the design would seem to suggest.
According to reports from Wall Street Journal and 9to5Google published earlier this year, the new wearable includes a larger prism display (presumably for a larger field of view), an improved Intel processor, longer battery life, and a more rugged, even waterproof design. All of these features position the wearable for the more rigorous demands of enterprise and industrial environments.
Peeling through the FCC SAR report—which delves into the human body’s “specific absorption rate” of radio frequencies—it’s clear that this new version of Glass does indeed support 5GHz Wi-Fi as earlier reports have suggested.
The hinge looks sturdy, but would this device really stick to the face of a user toiling on an assembly line or in operating room? Probably not. It’s important to remember that the devices in the FCC photo may not resemble the final product—the government is only interested in radio frequencies, not aesthetics. Indeed, one image in the FCC filing shows a much more familiar-looking iteration.
It’s been a long, wild, wacky ride for Google Glass. Just a year and a half ago, the Glass program was put under the leadership of Ivy Ross, a veteran luxury goods marketing specialist. Shortly thereafter, Glass became available in Diane Von Furstenberg fashion frames. But now it appears that Google has given up on mainstreaming Glass (Fadell’s consumer-centric credentials notwithstanding), and is pushing the wearable into the workplace—where, presumably, the average office drone is more concerned with functionality than fashion.
9to5Google says the new “Enterprise Edition” is simply called “EE” internally, but the draft manual submitted to the FCC on June 12 of this year refers to the device as “GG1.” The most interesting thing in the user manual? Note what I’ve italicized: “Press the camera button to take a photo. Hold it down to record a video. The green light shows when the camera is on.”
That might assuage all those Glass detractors concerned by surreptitious video-capture. It might also be an appeal to human resources departments across the world: Laws vary on how employees can monitor other employees in the workplace.
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Computers and Peripherals
Jon is the Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld and TechHive. He's been covering all manner of consumer hardware since 1995.