By Stephen Schenck | October 30, 2013 11:39 AM
So far, Google’s been fine-tuning Glass and getting ready for the innovative headset’s launch with the help of some early adopters. While those users still have to buy their own (very expensive) Glass hardware, it’s nonetheless a pretty limited program, making participation a coveted position. Yesterday, the company announced plans to greatly expand the scope of this testing, inviting current users to offer up to three friends the chance to get involved with Glass for themselves. While doing so, it also revealed that all these testers will have the chance to swap out their existing Glass units for a new design later this year. So, just what’s changing?
All told, the tweaks seem pretty minimal. That’s supposed to be this new hardware up above, and comparing it with existing photos of Glass, we’re hard-pressed to spot any big changes. Google describes its efforts with this design as making Glass more compatible with existing glasses.
The bigger news might be the inclusion of an optional mono earbud. The initial idea was to play audio through a bone-conduction speaker, channeling the sound straight into your skull. The addition of an earpiece at this late in the game seems to be a tacit admission that bone-conduction simply doesn’t work as well as envisioned, or at least not for all users, nor in all types of environments. It’s nice to see Google doing something about that, rather than ignoring the problem (you’re wearing it wrong!), even if that does detract from Glass’s mystique a little.