Update: As well as an "Adjustable Display Mounting" (see below, under "Design"), another possible look for Google Glass 2 has come to light: a sort of Google Monocle with one, adjustable arm that wraps around the back of your head. It is based on an old patent application, so hopefully not.
It's also been reported that Glass 2 is currently being developed under the name Project Aura, though we still expect it to use the Glass name when it's finally released.
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It's official: Google Glass 2 is happening, but it may be more for work than play.
Google may have axed the original, revolutionary wearable following the end of its Explorer Program on January 19, but it looks like the Mountain View firm is just getting started with Google Glass.
In a Google+ announcement from earlier this year, the Glass team said that it was "graduating" from the testing grounds and becoming a full-fledged team at Google, adding, "we're thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality...In the meantime, we're continuing to build for the future, and you'll start to see future versions of Glass when they're ready. (For now, no peeking.)"
Most consumers and possibly Google itself would agree that the first Glass was well ahead of its time. It was a prototype from Google's top-secret X labs and strived to involve developers heavily throughout its evolution with the Explorer Program.
But now, Google is moving beyond the Explorer Edition and developing the next generation of Glass under the guidance of Nest chief executive Tony Fadell. The new version, rumored to be called the Enterprise Edition, and seemingly targeted more explicitly at business, is in the works.
Google Glass 2: release date, price and key facts
- This is the next version of Google Glass, reportedly called "Enterprise Edition"
- Release date: There's still a chance we'll get an official unveiling in 2015, but Google I/O in May 2016 seems the earliest plausible date to us.
- Price: When it was still available through the Explorer Program, the original Glass cost a hefty sum of $1,500 (about £1,000, AU$1,350.) It's possible that Google Glass 2 will be manufactured in greater numbers than the Explorer Edition, in which case it should be cheaper thanks to economies of scale. However, if Google intends to keep it as a niche, work-related product, that may not be the case.
• Here's what users of the original Google Glass would like to see in Google Glass 2.
Google Glass 2 spec
Details are limited but naturally, Google is aiming to make internal improvements with its next wearable. It's said to be ditching Texas Instruments and powering Google Glass 2 with an Intel processor instead.
Although that report broke several months ago, there is still no sign of which Intel processor Google Glass 2 will use. Some reports suggest the Glass model in development is using an Intel Atom processing chip, though the specific model is unknown.
With a new processor, Glass is also surely striving to improve Glass' battery life, one of the greatest drawbacks in the Google Glass Explorer Edition, as well as boost performance. This could also mean using a larger battery pack, of course.
Finally, it's been suggested that the crucial, heads-up display element of Glass 2 will be both bigger than the original and able to move both vertically and horizontally. This would begin to alleviate another popular gripe about the original Glass: that the display was simply too hard to focus on.
Google Glass 2 design
There are two design directions Glass 2 can go, and there are rumours that suggest Google is doing both.
The Glass at Work programme and many of the most recent leaks and rumours suggest that this is an enterprise device. There's talk of Glass 2 versions that clip on to users' own glasses (or workplace safety goggles) or even to your hat.
This rumour came about from a patent application describing tech similar to Google Glass version 1, but with different adjustable mounts, including ones for clothing, with the display attached via magnets.
This suggests that Glass will not, in fact be radically redesigned to be fashionable, stylish or have mainstream social appeal. If it's for workplace use, whether in a warehouse or an operating theater, function remains far more important than form.
"Glass at Work" is Google's initiative for companies who want to help Glass improve and evolve in the workplace, and according to some reports, certain Glass at Work partners may have seen a sneak peek of the new Google Glass as far back as October 2014.
However, there's another school of thought: that the brand new Glass design will be more like everyday glasses and attract less (negative) attention, with luxury eyewear brand Luxottica supposedly providing its design expertise.
With Fadell partnering with jewelry designer Ivy Ross as well as Luxottica, it had initially seemed that Google was aiming to make the next Google Glass more of a fashion piece, for street and dinner wear.
The most likely explanation: Google is working on both an Enterprise Edition and a style one.
The negative public reaction to the original Glass makes it seem more likely to us that the Enterprise Edition is the one Google really wants to crack. There are ready-made markets for it in business and the look of the device, plus its supposedly privacy-invading qualities become less problematic in the workplace.
On the other hand, Tony Fadell helped father the iPod and the Nest Learning Thermostat. He doesn't seem like a guy who only wants to make a bland workplace tool.
Google Glass 2: the future
Despite Google Glass 2's disappointing absence from Google IO 2015, an appearance by the wearable surely can't be far off. Since January 2015, when Google closed the Explorer Program, the tech firm has posted over 20 job listings for positions specific to Google Glass.
However, that doesn't mean it will be rushed to the public. In July 2015, Tony Fadell told the BBC, "I remember what it was like when we did the iPod and the iPhone. I think [Glass] can be that important, but it's going to take time to get it right."
With Glass 2, Google is taking a much more internal approach to developing the final product, and unlike the Explorer Edition will keep prototypes in-house rather than letting developers use them ahead of time. Fadell defended Google's choice to work from the inside out, telling the BBC that "[the customers] want something that delivers value or you end up with a real disappointment and you can spoil the market."
As further announcements, reports and rumors pour in on the anticipated arrival of Google Glass 2, we'll keep you up to date every step of the way.
Additional sources: Wall Street Journal, 9To5 Google, BBC