Only a month ago it appeared that Google was ready to abandon its smart headset but, according to reports, a new prototype version is being tested.
Google announced that it was closing down its Explorer program for Google Glass -- a scheme that let any US or UK consumer pay $1500 for a pre-launch version of the headset -- on January 15. Two weeks later the company's CFO said that the project needed to be put on pause and the device's use and direction rethought.
No high-tech device in recent history has been so polarizing. The term ‘Glasshole' was coined to describe users, regulators moved to ban its use while driving, and cinemas, bars, and diners started barring entry to wearers
Apple's head of design, Jony Ive revealed that he didn't think much of Google Glass as part of a New Yorker profile published this week and, according to the piece, neither did his boss. Tim Cook is quoted as saying: "We always thought that glasses were not a smart move....They were intrusive...." He went on, looking at the Apple Watch on his wrist, "This isn't building a barrier between you and me."
However, in the realm of business, enterprises started to become more and more taken by its enterprise capabilities. Google set up the Glass at Work program and companies specializing in everything from healthcare to car building started developing very specific apps for the device.
And, according to 9to5 Google, it's these Glass at Work partners that have just received a next-generation version of Google Glass and are now busy putting it through its paces.
The publication's sources claim that there are several different prototype versions and that they have been circulating since October.
And, a possible consumer version isn't dead, yet. Tony Fadell, founder of Nest and one of the team that bought the iPod and the iPhone to life during his time at Apple, has been tasked with making the device into something that looks desirable as well as useful.
Meanwhile other companies have started launching their own smart headsets.
Lenovo and Samsung are both understood to have smart headsets in development, while Epson's Moverio BT-200 headset and Vuzix's M100 Smart Glasses have both been on the market for over a year. And the latest company to move into the smart headset market is Sony. Its SmartEyeGlass headset starts shipping in March for $840.