When Google Glass was first unveiled, it looked like it could be the future of wearable/mobile computing. But Google’s decision to include a camera quickly led some folks to worry about the privacy implications; the $1500 price the company charged early testers made it look like a luxury item; and recently some of the big name developers who had been working on the platform have pretty much given up.
But Google hasn’t: the Google Glass hardware that’s been available for the past year or two has really been a prototype aimed at developers and testers. While it hasn’t proven wildly successful as a consumer product, it isn’t really designed to be one… at least not yet.
And Glass has shown promise in niche markets such as manufacturing and hospital environments, where a hands-free computer could be useful.
Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Google has chosen an Intel processor for the next-generation of Google Glass, and Intel plans to promote the product for use in those niche industries.
The first versions of Google Glass were powered by Texas Instruments processors. The TI OMAP 4430 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor was already a bit dated when Glass was first announced, and Texas Instruments doesn’t even product mobile processors for consumer devices anymore.
Meanwhile, Intel has been pushing its Atom processors for phones, tablets, and other low-power devices in an effort to catch up to ARM-based chips in the mobile, wearable, and embedded spaces. The Google Nexus Player, for instance, features an Intel Atom processor.
It’s not clear what the move from a TI chip to an Intel processor will mean for the new Google Glass devices, but an Atom chip would likely bring better performance to the next generation of Google Glass. If Intel and Google opt for an even lower-power SoFIA chip, that could bring longer battery life to the wearable computer.
It’s also not yet clear how much Glass will cost when it moves from an “Explorer Edition” device for testers and developers to a commercial device which is sold to consumers and businesses: while Intel and others see a market for Glass in professional environments, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google still hopes to position Glass as a consumer device.