Google’s Glass has seemingly lost its mojo with developers apparently more interested in the Android Wear platform that underpins the unfolding smartwatch revolution.
Of course, the inordinate amount of attention thrust on smartwatches is again a reflection of how much sway Apple and its Apple Watch continues to have on consumer sentiment. However, the sentiment of the developer community does confirm that Google Glass was never going to be a bestseller with consumers.
It’s a feeling that’s been brewing for some time.
This year’s Google annual developer conference had no mention of Google Glass. Instead Google chose to tout its software for smartwatches, which are not only a whole lot cheaper but also don’t bring the social baggage that comes with sporting a Google Glass.
It’s possible that when it comes to wearables Google is opting for the path of least resistance and with consumers seemingly much more comfortable with smartwatches the internet giant may decide to hold its horses on Google Glass, at least until it's able to drop the prices.
Having said that selling connected eye-gear to the public was always going to be a hard sell and Google is much better placed to make the device its wearable of choice for the enterprise market.
Putting on a Google Glass as you get ready to paint the town red and you might end up with a black eye but give the device to a doctor or a field-service worker and the devices’ purpose becomes a lot clearer.
And that’s really what the wearables story boils down to. It’s not just about the form or the app ecosystem it’s about function and purpose wrapped up in a package that’s compelling enough for the consumers commit to wholeheartedly.
Google Glass can succeed in some enterprise scenarios simply because it solves the hand-free problem in a unique way, something that can’t be delivered by a smartwatch or a smartphone.
There’s a reason why BlackBerry was able to capture our attention when it first came to the market. Here was a device that was not only smarter than your average mobile phone but actually delivered a unique function.
By concentrating on email, backed with robust security, BlackBerry offered freedom from a desktop environment without compromising on the physical aspects that bred familiarity, namely the keyboard.
BlackBerry may have been subsequently overrun by the iPhone and Android phones but it certainly underpinned the process that led to the advent of the age of the smart device.
The wearable space is waiting for such a moment and smartwatches may be shining new toy its long term future isn't guaranteed.
For one, they are still taking tentative steps towards starting to look like something you would want around your wrist. Then, there's the issue of battery life - a problem that's unlikely to be fixed in a hurry.
Most importantly, smartwatches are still far too tethered to the smartphone, although the likes of Sony and Samsung are trying to remedy that dynamic.
With smartwatches crawling out of the woodworks, the familiarity of the form bred out of the popularity of fitness bands makes them an easier sell. But until they provide a truly unique experience - a killer app that's independent of the phone - smartwatches may not be the future of wearables after all.
That future may be an amalgam of smartwatches and Google Glass and who knows; the adoption may actually begin in the enterprise and then bleed into the consumer space.
Google isn't quite ready to bin the Glass but putting it on ice for now might not be such a bad idea.