Google Glass review

Explorer Edition has ceased production, but its legacy lives on

Google Glass review
Google Glass review

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Google Glass was expected to have a "consumer version" release this year, but there was no official announcement timed with the Google IO 2014 developer conference in June or since then.

"[In 2014], I want to have a broad consumer offering," said co-founder Sergey Brin to Bloomberg two years ago. Maybe the fact that Glass is now available in the Google Play Store counts as that consumer offering?

Either way, what's next for Google Glass? More than any single upgrade to its tech specs, significantly dropping the retail edition's price would put it on more faces, even some of the skeptical ones.

That's certainly feasible, as a number of analysts have calculated Google Glass' bill of materials to be less than $200 (about £120, AU$212) based on the known components.

Google Glass release date in the UK and Australia

Open up: Google Glass availability needs to extend beyond the US and UK

Naturally, now that the invite-only process has ended in favor of open enrollment in the US and UK, the next step is to make Google Glass available worldwide, including Explorer-deprived regions like Continental Europe and Australia.

The Google Glass consumer version is likely to contain a bigger battery, even though Google is going to struggle with the bigger form factor resting behind the ear. It's already big enough at 570 mAh.

The camera, while adequate at 5 megapixels, is also a desired upgrade for the retail version. It's one of the most used features of Google Glass, as demonstrated by all of the fun-to-look-at #throughglass photos on Twitter. I still prefer to use my iPhone 6 or Nexus 6 for pictures when it matters, especially in low-light situations. Google Glass is only used for novelty and convenience purposes.

People wearing Google Glass

At Google, everyone was wearing Glass

The number of Glassware apps is going to naturally increase in the future. Its current count of 64 is just the beginning, and augmented reality games could have a really big impact on Google Glass in 2014. Further out, it could better connect with the company's broadening ecosystem, possibly integrating with Chromecast for screencasting photos and video, or the newly released Android Wear smartwatches like Moto 360 and LG G Watch R.

Google hasn't laid out an official timeline for the public version of its trendsetting wearable, but with Google Glass competitors launching over the next several months, it may fast track the release date and scope. We expect to hear more on or before the Google IO 2015 keynote, hopefully with a consumer version introduction that's as grandiose as 2012's skydiving entrance.

Matt Swider