Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam
I've wanted a Google Glass since Commander Sisko had one on "Star Trek Deep Space 9." I ignored the warning that only the Vorta could wear them without getting a terrible headache. I thought: It's like having your own private wearable big-screen TV! But hey, I was like 14 or 15 when that show started. (I mention this only to make my editor feel old.)
At an illustrious event entitled "Glass Durham," which took place at Bay 7 in the historic American Tobacco campus, I was cured of this childhood fantasy. Or at least, this incarnation of it.
Google is trying to market something that makes you look like a dork as fashionable. Of course, I am no fashion diva. My wife once said that clothes make a statement about you. When I asked what my clothes say, she replied, "That you like zombies and the beach."
Anyway, I stood in line with a bunch of people who looked like the fools who stand in line for the latest iPhone. The Glass logo suggested an electronic indie rock hipster fair flash mob could break out at any moment. Each youth waited faithfully for a chance to look like a model in some futuristic Aryan dystopia.
Google flew in a few Californians and temp-hired a bunch of recent UNC grads to pretend to have worn Glass for months. A good portion of the demo was "well, this is pre-recorded because we're having Internet problems," which pointed to a major problem with the device: It requires your phone to provide the Internet or reliable Wi-Fi.
When can I actually get one?
I asked a few basic questions about Glass: When will it be available to developers outside of San Francisco, where they hold the Google.io event? The marketoid told me that it isn't just San Francisco, it's also New York and Los Angeles as well! No idea when it would be available to other developers.
This presents a potential problem for Google. Google.io is a marketing event. You need to distribute more units to more developers than will come to your conference in order to launch with enough applications to prevent the thing from flopping. (Ask HP how WebOS went.)
For consumers, the device will be available "sometime in 2014." So these Glass events are mainly about building demand.
I also asked about battery life. The marketoid said about a day of normal use.