According to reports, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will soon release Android 4.4 KitKat for Glass and begin stemming the frequency of updates for the wearable device. Glass explorers currently have to install a minor monthly update to keep the device up to date.
While the announcement means Google Glass explorers have a major update on the horizon, what does it mean for a consumer release? Google is busy on the wearables front, prepping Glass for wide release sometime this year and working with LG to produce a Nexus smartwatch. All the leaks have us wondering: Which wearable will Google produce first?
Google Glass-Like Features Appear In Other Devices
Google released Project Glass to the first wave of “explorers” one year ago. A wearable computer wired to an optical head-mounted display in a neat aluminum frame, Google Glass promised hands-free interaction with a series of voice commands, initiated by the phrase “OK, Glass.” It costs explorers $1,500. Google says a less expensive consumer version is on the way.
Since Google Glass was unveiled to the world, Google released a smartphone toting the hands-free voice command – the Moto X, from Motorola Mobility. The Moto X utilizes a slightly different keyword (“OK, Google”), and offers functionality more in line with a smartphone. Moto X owners can make a call or send text hands-free, but cannot take a picture in the same manner as Glass (“OK, Glass – take a picture").
It is possible that Google will implement a similar voice-activated hands-free feature on its Nexus Smartwatch. Reports say Google will announce an entirely new operating system for wearables open to all original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, and operate the OS similarly to how it oversees development of Android for mobile. The Google smartwatch OS will be reportedly be unveiled before the Nexus-branded wearable.
Will Google Release A Nexus Watch Before Glass?
The imminent release of Android 4.4 KitKat for Google Glass, along with a slowing frequency of updates, could mean that Google is almost ready to ship it to consumers. However, a slate of recent leaks regarding a Nexus Smartwatch has slowed the buzz regarding Glass. After all, it would it be easier and less conspicuous to throw on a smartwatch than walk around wearing a pair of high-tech glasses all day, wouldn’t it?
Google is expected to release Glass sometime this year, in addition to Nexus-branded smartwatch made by LG Electronics. Since Google Glass had undergone a year of hardware and firmware changes, while the Nexus Watch is still in the early manufacturing stages, our money is on the spectacles.
Follow Reporter Thomas Halleck on Twitter @tommylikey