While you might have thought that Google’s proto-Hololens had died a death when the prototype was nixed in 2015, the wearable computer has been given a new lease of life and goes on sale today again at an eyewatering (not just because of how uncomfortable it may be on your face) price of €1,550 (around £1,400).
The new Glass Enterprise Edition (EE) is being produced by Spanish ‘Glass for Work’ partner Streye and, as the title and pricing would suggest, it’s not aimed at general consumers. Bundled in with the headset are Streye’s enterprise streaming services, which the company assures us will help users ‘reduce cost’, ‘increase performance’ and ‘maximise efficiency’.
In terms of hardware, EE is mostly an evolution from the initial device. It’s got a much larger 780mAh battery, which should last the majority of the workday, 32GB of storage, an Intel Atom processor, faster Wi-Fi, improved sensors and a louder speaker. Most importantly there is a red light that comes on when the wearer starts recording a video, a major point of contention for many people who complained that they coulld be recorded without permission.
While the original Glass did have ambitions to eventually move into the consumer space, it would appear that has all but been squashed, with developers focusing solely on business use.
"Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services and healthcare, find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy," writes Glass project lead Jay Kothari.
"That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customised software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields."
There’s no sign of any consumer edition of Glass, but with Apple investing in augmented reality and seriously hinting at WWDC that it might have its own AR glasses, and with Microsoft partners set to release a whole bunch of affordable mixed reality HMDs at the end of the year, Google may be testing the waters to potentially re-enter the battleground.