Google Glass 2.0: What's in store for the next-gen AR headset

Google Glass is alive and this time it's going to invade the workplace
Google Glass 2.0: AR headset evolved

19 January, 2015. That's the date that Google decided to can its Google Glass Explorer program, leaving early adopters (delightfully known by many as Glassholes) wondering what to do with the expensive piece of wearable kit.

The failed X Lab project is by no means dead though. Renaming its wearable division Project Aura, Google decided put Tony Fadell, the man who helped build the iPod, iPhone and Nest thermostat to go back to the drawing board with Glass.

While Google has yet to officially reveal its plans for Glass 2.0, the evidence continues to mount that the next iteration is imminent. But you won't find it on the faces of A-list celebs or models.

Essential reading: How to fix Google Glass 2

It looks like it'll be called Google Glass Enterprise Edition and as the name suggests, it's designed for the workplace. Here's everything we know about the new Glass headset so far.

So let's start with the name. Our most concrete evidence that Glass 2.0 will be called Google Glass Enterprise Edition comes after the name was mentioned in support pages for the second generation AR eyewear.

Along with with confirmation of the name, we now also know that Glass 2.0 will come with an Enterprise Edition Wearable Battery Pack. If you're really interested, you can also read warranty information and regulatory information about the new Glass, which is now live on the official Glass website.

One of the biggest criticisms of the first incarnation of Glass was that it was plain ugly. Even with the help of Oakley and Ray-Ban, Glass couldn't shake it's tech prototype look. With the Enterprise Edition, it's perhaps less of a priority, but there has been some changes made to the design.

It largely retains much of the DNA from previous versions, so it still has a touchpad, display and camera. One notable change is that it can now be folded away making them easier to slip into your lab coat or blazer pocket. As these are going to be built for work, you can expect a more durable, rugged build along with a waterproof design as well.

A closer look at the Enterprise Edition images filed by the FCC (above and below) also indicate that there's a larger prism display up front and that the power button has now been positioned at the back of the device.

It's no surprise to hear that there's going to be some internal hardware changes. Top of the bill is a new Intel processor, which is set to improve not only overall performance but offer better heat management. On the connectivity front, the filing reveals there'll now be 5GHz Wi-Fi band support allowing users to stream video applications.

The first generation Glass also had a big problem with battery life. It varied for most that used it, but the consensus was that it struggled to make it through the one day Google promised it would last for. With staying power likely to be an even greater concern for the Enterprise Edition, improved battery life is being touted although we have no specific details by how much. It does sound like Google is prepping a solution with its own external battery pack that can be magnetically attached to the device to give your Glass an extra hit of power.

Another one of first generation Glass's flaws was apps. There just wasn't enough available to make it useful. For the Enterprise version, there's likely to be less demand for being able to check in on Twitter while with a focus on companies putting their own software onto Glass to ensure its used in the proper way. We're sure someone will come up with a workaround to access the handful of apps that were available on older models though.

So how will you be able to get hold of the Enterprise Edition of Google Glass? Well, it looks likely you'll have to be part of Google's Glass for Work program. According to 9to5 Google, members of the program have already had access to the new Glass and have put it through its paces.

Does this mean we will never see a consumer version of Google Glass? Not necessarily. It's expected that there'll be a number of different editions of the new Glass. You just might have to wait a little longer for it. Judging by Fadell's comments made about the Explorer Edition in a BBC interview back in July 2015, Google will want to make sure the Project Aura team get it right this time before handing them out to the public.


  • mooresdata says:

    I think that they are missing the most basic "killer app" for this device:  VR Keyboard and Mouse - everywhere.  Super portable and needs no extra power supply.

    As I sit in my favourite work-cafe it again hits me how useless my laptop kb/mouse is.  Touchscreen is foolish.  I want to SEE a keyboard and mouse, not carry them.  

    Google Glass offers that promise:  Show me a keyboard right there in front me me... I turn my head, the keyboard remains right where I put it on the tabletop.  Show me a mouse... if I grab it, let it move like a mouse.  There should be almost no difference between the real thing and the VR version.

    The kb/mouse pop into existence the second you make "the gesture" (envision a magician flexing his fingers toward the tabletop and SHAZAM!!  a keyboard appears magically in front of him, ready to use.  Or a right-hand only gesture slightly off to the right: SHAZAM!! a mouse appears miraculously).  Alternatively, when I make the "POINT" gesture (thumb to the left, pointer up, rest curled) to the right of the VR keyboard, I AM the mouse.  Clicking etc. are pretty self-evident.

    We have the sensor tech available today for this to work without any extra hardware and the software is high-school grade.

    Do this and Google Glass will fly off the shelves.  You have my promise ;-)

    THEN we need to work on the haptic feedback - but I can live without it for now.

    • boball says:

      How about good enough speech interpretation to not need a keyboard, which only forms words that can be spoken in the first place. Oh, we have that already!

      No, this is not the innovation that will bring these devices to market, a fully fledged HUD that can respond to eye, face or hand gestures along with voice is the way, typing is for cave men and coders!

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