By Rich McCormick, The Verge
For one day only, this Tuesday, anyone in the United States will be able to purchase Google Glass. Where previously interested parties usually had to sign up to waiting lists or get referred by a friend, the company is making a limited supply of its wearable product available for $1,500 from 9AM ET on April 15th. Ahead of the sale, Google has detailed the next round of updates for its device set to roll out later this week, including Android Kit Kat support, improved battery life, and the removal of video call capability.
Google says it has been working on a “significant upgrade” to Glass’ software. The device now runs the latest version of the Android operating system, Kit Kat, meaning developers can use the most recent Android SDK to create Glassware apps in addition to the recently announced Glass development kit. Google says the update also brings more reliability and improved battery life. The latter is a particularly welcome upgrade: in our experience, earlier versions of Glass would often run out of battery before the day was complete.
Video calls weren’t up to Google’s standards, but will be reinstated later.
The updates also see the removal of Glass’ video calls. Google says it decided to ditch the feature for now after deciding that video calls weren’t yet up to its “high standards,” but that it planned to add the feature back in when the “experience is better.” The company didn’t say when that would be, but suggested the Glassware developer community was already working on other video streaming services. Google suggested that the feature’s temporary removal would not be mourned, noting that fewer than 10 percent of Glass wearers used video calls in their current form, but its disappearance takes away from the limited suite of things you can currently do with Glass.
Smaller updates include new photo replies to Google Hangouts, easier ways to send feedback, and sorting of users’ voice commands to prioritize the commands they give Glass most. For more details on the other changes that will be made to Glass with this “massive” update, Google points people to the Glass Explorers Community.