After nearly two years in development and launching first through its invite only Explorers program in 2013, Google has seen fit to open up sales of the Android-powered Google Glass wearable computer to all after the most recent one-day sale last month. The Explorer Edition of the device is now for sale for the current $1500 price set at the beginning of the initiative and the wider release of the Explorer Edition is limited to current stock on hand.
The current Glass hardware is powered by an OMAP chipset running Android KitKat 4.4.2 with 16GB of built-in storage and features an optical heads up display, and as Google continues to reiterate is not finalized hardware. Currently, developers have access to 682MB of the device’s total 1GB of RAM with a 5-megapixel camera and 720p video capture that also features a touchpad and relies on it and voice commands to control the device. The hardware configuration is expected to change substantially as Google gets closer to releasing the long-planned consumer edition still planned for this year.
With the wider release of the Explorer Edition, Google is getting even comfortable with where the initiative is progressing and feels that the hardware and software are mature enough for more people to use outside of the invite system.
However, with several high-profile incidents involving Glass usage and the increasing resistance the device faces owing to several design choices, such as the lack of a visible recording indicator, expanding availability will inevitably lead to an increase of such incidents, whether owing to increased media attention or genuine misunderstandings caused by a lack of etiquette when using the device.
It then falls to Google to make more of a proactive effort to craft rules for ethical and responsible Glass usage now that it has opened sales to everyone in the country. It’s one thing to craft rules for early adopters that may have a particular mindset about using a new gadget with implications regarding privacy, but it becomes more important to take those concerns into account when it involves general consumers.