Google Glass is finally here: Tech specs released, first units shipped

Google Glass is finally here: Tech specs released, first units shipped

Summary: Google has taken the wraps off Glass' battery life, useable storage - and its Bone Conduction Transducer system.

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TOPICS: Google, Hardware
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An image from Google's spec sheet for Glass. Image: Google

Google has begun shipping the first of its Glass networked spectacles to developers, and released basic technical specifications for the head-mounted device and the Android app used to configure them.  

What can you do with Google Glass? Check here (images)

According to the spec sheet, Google Glass will offer one full day of battery life for normal usage, but features like Hangouts and video recording will expend the battery faster. Google recommends recharging the kit with with the Micro USB cable and charger it supplies with Glass.

The display resolution is the "equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away", but Google is being no more specific than that. 

The head mountable device comes with 16GB Flash onboard storage of which 12GB of is useable and is synced with Google cloud storage. Glass is tied to a Google account and automatically uploads location data along with video and photos to a Google+ Instant Upload album, according to the Glass Terms of Service.

The camera takes photos at five megapixels and video at 720p, while audio relies on a Bone Conduction Transducer system that does away with the need for earphones by transmitting audio directly to the user's skull. It's unclear where the system is located. 

Google filed a patent for the system in January, noting that the transducer transmits vibrations from an audio signal source on the device to the frame before reaching the wearer. "The vibration transducer vibrates the head-mounted display without directly vibrating a wearer. However, the head-mounted display structure vibrationally couples to a bone structure of the wearer, such that vibrations from the vibration transducer may be indirectly transferred to the wearer's bone structure," it wrote.

Glass connectivity options include the wi-fi standard 802.11b/g and Bluetooth. While it supports any Bluetooth-capable phone, the MyGlass app, which enables GPS and SMS, is currently only available for Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich and higher). It's also the app that Glass owners use to configure and manage the device.

Glass has an adjustable nosepad and extra nosepads in two sizes. It also comes with a Glass pouch and like a smartphone, users should keep it away from liquids, Google notes in the FAQ.

The company also addresses the question raised by one US law maker who proposed outlawing Glass while driving

"As you probably know, most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites. Read up and follow the law! Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road. The same goes for bicycling: whether or not any laws limit your use of Glass, always be careful."

Glass is not for everyone either. It warns that just like normal glasses, some people feel eye strain or get a headache, and advises against children under 13 wearing them since it could harm developing vision.

The information arrives in parallel with Google's decision to launch an API for the headset. The company published a developer preview of the Mirror API for Google Glass on Tuesday.

Topics: Google, Hardware

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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16 comments
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  • Let's become a Google Borg Drone

    Resistance is Futile
    bobiroc
  • no wireless charging???

    what is this 2005?

    With the lack of this feature makes me think apple designed it.
    everss02
    • is this a joke?

      Your kidding right? *conductive * charging is more accurate. That feature would be almost useless on this device anyways.
      rackshatta
    • Wireless charging

      Required certain surface area for the coil to work. With a device so small it just won't be effective.

      It's not a design problem. It's a physic problem.
      Samic
      • I agree ...

        I agree with you @Samic .

        It's a physical problem not a technology's one.
        Our eyes, and all creatures eyes ,
        are made for watching to large areas .

        They can be focused for a while to a small object,
        but soon will come the fatigue of the eye.
        No one can look for long to microscope.

        The muscles of the eyes become very tired
        by focusing to close distances and small objects.

        We have physical instruments ,
        not a kind of robotics .

        Yet, this gadget of Google ,
        still remains interesting .

        It's another way to look to the world,
        and interact with it.
        But not for long use.

        I think that this is a nice innovation
        if it is used Just for a while .
        Constantin Leon
    • Instead...

      ...it should be powered by your body energy.
      Mavko Žmak
  • .

    So it begins. I for one can't wait to see how this technology pans out :)
    jackmcnally6
  • DOA

    List of places you won't be allowed to bring this to:

    Sports events, Classroom, Music Venues, Court rooms, Any Government building, with 500 yds of a Military installation, Driving, Libraries, Sex clubs, Bars....

    Basically the only place you will be able to wear these will be on the street, out in country and in your own house or apartment. DOA
    gnosis1
    • Re: List of places you won't be allowed to bring this to:

      In the future, how will people tell you're wearing one?
      ldo17
      • Good Luck

        Good Luck stoping people from using them once the tec becomes a bit more advanced and everyone has a pair. ^_^
        PricePost
  • forgot one

    and at work....
    gnosis1
    • Knee-jerk, one second of thought restrictions list

      gnosis1 and ldo17 make EXCELLENT points (if some may be tongue-in-cheek).

      gnosis1's list reminds me of the American who was accosted in the Paris McDonald's due to his medically approved/required and legal vision enhancing eye wear. While I can't comment on the last 3 places on the initial list (haven't visited a library regularly since college!), the rest have been areas where technophobia has resulted in illogical restrictions. I view this technology as the next "step" in the PC/laptop/tablet/PDA/cell phone/smart phone process.

      Based on my experience:
      (1) Military installations, court rooms, and government buildings: current restrictions are enforceable only through 100% searches and/or security checkpoints. Anyone with a digital camera of some sort can usually gather any data they want right now.
      (2) Work: there is a positive trend in establishing BYOD policies. Development and implementation remain key. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is lack of employee education, lack of proper enforcement, lengthy process for device consideration, and poor (if any) program to routinely (and/or randomly) verify compliance.

      ldo17's comment is quite forward thinking. If serve holds, the "decision makers" of today will still think no farther into the future than what is currently available. The typical organization has the CTO/CIO suborned to the CFO/COO function and do not get an equal say at the "adult table". Additionally, IT/IS is arguably the #1 area of outsourcing today. IT/IS is the foundation for companies that wish to remain viable for more than the next M&A cycle. CIO/CTO functions MUST be elevated to the top floor, as a result. Budgeting for IS/IT needs to include employment of "wizards of smart" who can test programs, apps, devices, etc. to ensure (1) devices more than 1 "tech cycle" ahead are understood; (2) budgets can be adjusted for related tech refreshes; (3) in-house (and there better be some!) developers can adjust apps, web sites, etc. to accommodate the new tech as quickly as possible (regardless of corporate usage of said devices); (4) policies are drafted and run through the approval process in a MUCH more timely manner; and (5) the company can intelligently participate in sector-wide (and other professional organization) discussions about near-future and long-term technology trends, issues with using tech, and plans for segment exploitation of tech.

      Sorry for the lengthy comment but I get a bit spun up about folks who start restricting tech without a rudimentary understanding of how it works and possible ROI opportunities.
      DBLaPointe
  • What about the billions of people who wear correction lenses or sunglasses?

    Can't see how a new "Geordi"-like headset will be useful unless correction lenses for eyesight defects and shades for strong sunlight can be incorporated. What do Google say about that in the specifications? Nothing.

    It would be more successful if the projection system was a separate product that could "clip on" to glasses and frames that are the choice of the individual. Not everyone wants to look like a "Trekkie". Not everyone has perfect eyesight.
    rob.sherratt@...
    • I read somewhere...

      They are going to have a version for people with bad vision.
      Having been forced to wear glasses almost all my life, I find it quite funny that wearing glasses is now the latest techno thing and I'm currently not eligible.
      Pachanga-4184c
    • Agree w/Rob and Pachanga

      I don't "require" my glasses except for reading BUT I'm not certain how Glass usage would affect that. Also, I've been wearing sunglasses 99% of the time I'm outside due to PRK surgery back in 2006! Good points.
      DBLaPointe
  • #1 use for google glass

    OBVIOUS REALLY

    1. close up video of my gf giving me a BJ
    2. porn industry
    gnosis1