A smartphone that goes to your head
Over time I have learned that you can never really assume to know everything about a computer or smartphone or any other device until you have spent a good deal of time and effort using it in everyday circumstances. But the reality is that when you are invited to test drive a new unit, you only have a limited time to give it the thumbs up or down, and such a trial is never going replicate a "normal" experience.
So a grand total of an hour over two sessions barely qualifies me to pass proper judgment on Google Glass.
However, it was immediately apparent that Glass is still on its training wheels. The user experience is sub-optimal. The finger gestures are a bit hit and miss. The voice commands work well but there was only a limited suite of instructions. I kept squinting with my left eye to focus with the right on the screen, although everyone I have spoken to about Glass says you get used to the obstruction in your field of vision after a few days.
The screen only frames about as many words as you find in a tweet - 140 characters. So you read in short bursts of words rather than anything longer form. But with the prevalence of texts and tweets, that is no longer a downside.
The camera and video are killer apps at this stage, and I can see how the maps and navigation would be useful.
Would I buy one? If the price was right, yes. To me, it is the logical extension of the evolution of the camera. Once, you only used these devices to photograph and film important events. And with only 12, 24 or 36 exposures or a reel of 8 millimetre film, you had to be selective with your shots.
When cameras went digital, everything changed and, now, photographs and video are ubiquitous. As mobile phones became the default camera, the game shifted once more.
And with the growing number of head-mounted cameras that are used in action sports, it is not surprising the next move is to something that moves from the helmet to the head.
In the late 1980s, I remember being called a wanker by a passer-by when I was walking down a street while talking on one of those prehistoric Motorola brick phones. Now, mobiles are the norm and nobody bats an eyelid.