10 signals that show a glasswar will replace the smartphone war
It all started with a nice Google glass "visionary" viral video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) last year. I personally thought that it was too visionary. An exquisit piece of technology too early for its time. Smartphones were and still are the rule in the developed world, and the main worry of investors in the field was not to measure the potential of extravagant savy super glasses, but to know when Samsung would surpass Apple, which company was more prepared to enter the emerging and developing markets with cheap high quality smartphones and which OS would become the norm.
Things might be starting to change little by little. I have searched for evidence that shows a gradual and increasing focus on the glass market. The same companies that agressively fighting for a better share of the smartphone market are quietly (and smartly) fighting for glass related technology patents, but clearly Google will make the first move.
Can Google glass make a change in the way we live everyday? Does it have the potential to make what the walkman made in the 90's, the iPod made that November back in 2001, or more recently yet, what the iPhone made that hot day back in June 29th, 2007? What we understand with the video, the quiet but smart social marketing and the last speech of Brin on the TED conference last Wednesday (were he stated that Google glass would be available by this year's holidays, yay!) is that Google is talking the talk here. Can they walk the walk? Below 10 signals and reasons why I think that they will. Why I think that Google Glass can make a paradigm (smartphones) gradually disappear in the seas of tech oblivion (as early as by 2018), were the cassettes rest in peace. Why I think that Google Glass could have the potential to make our lives change and offer a new set of sub technologies (an OS for the Glass is a crucial task), making some companies emerge from the ashes and others disappear after a long market struggle. Why I think that by 2022 most of our children would take the presence of a tech device similar to the Glass for granted.
1) It challenges the current barriers of technology. Basically speaking, it is new and innovative
Truth be spoken, a new gadget is something that does not happen very often. By new gadget I mean the product that results after using a new technology created for that purpose or a new combination of already existing technologies. Google Glass is both at the same time. And this is the first guarantee that it will not suffer, for example, the iPad fate. The iPad had good sales, but it certainly did not change the way we live. It created a new market (tablets), but not a new paradigm. It did not have the power to create sub markets (like apps). Google Glass is totally different in this sense.
Face Recognition taken to a new level
For more info about this point regard: http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/google-glass-and-the-future-of...
Check also how the world feels like when using the Google Glass by pictures: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eihm45mkdj/how-the-world-looks-through-go...
2) Google changed the release year (from 2014 to 2013)
Google has been somewhat coy about a release date for the product but on February 27, Google co-founder Sergey Brin moved the timeline for the Glass from 2014 to 2013. The earlier the product is available, the more innovative it will look to the public. The earlier the release, the higher the odds of taking the market by surprise.
For more info about this point check: http://mashable.com/2012/06/28/brin-google-glass-2014/
3) There is a quiet fight for patents related to glass technology
For example, Apple. Unfortunately, the "Think Different" company might be a litle bit late in this race. The US Patent and Trademark Office has published last week over 75 Apple patents. In the middle of all this patents with obscure names and weird details, a "Portable Display Device" patent was found. Apparently there are no references to video content and the figures do not provide any signalls that the project is related to video glasses. But a careful look into the patent showed us that Apple has been working hard and secretly in order to catch up.
Check the details here: http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/12/the-next-step-in-app...
Well, actually Apple is not the only one trying to catch up here. It is a well known fact that Microsoft is fighting for patents related to glass technology and augmented reality specifications:
Even Blackberry, who hasnt even finished catching up in the smartphone arena, might be joining the game!
Asian giants Samsung and Sony are also active:
All this shows that the Glass war has already started. Nobody wants to be the incumbent.
4) The market release will be aggressive. For example, it is a fact that Google Glass will tether with Android and iPhone for 3G Or 4G data.
Forbes confimes the news: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2013/02/23/confirmed-google-gl...
This is a smart move. It is trying to leverage what the smartphone battle accomplished in the past years. It is also directly, publicly and with no shame adressing the same customers of the smartphone gadget. It is stating: this is a clear war for the same customers. Let there be no doubt about it.
5) By expanding the user experience and user interface design, a new market for sub-technologies (OS, apps, merchandise, you name it) would be on its way
Trust me, the user experience will make the iWatch look dumb (http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2013/03/04/iwatch-and-google-glas...). Plus, you can think of a lot of products to make your Google Glass experience better. The first thing that comes to your mind is, of course, the OS. But also amazing apps that will take advantage of augmented reality to give you amazing gaming experiences, for example. I don't need to think a minute to pop up some great apps for this new gadget: personal finance in your eyes, apps for traders with market links, multiplayer games, etc.
6) Google is making smart moves on marketing, therefore preparing the market for the release
Like this article (http://creativegood.com/blog/the-google-glass-feature-no-one-is-talking-...) says, nobody wants to be the only one dressed like a cyborg in the party. The Google Glass will be hard to wear at first, specially when nobody is wearing it. It could be ‘emasculating’ or "irresistible", according to who is asked for an opinion. It will certainly be something new and the market needs to be prepared. There is always a complex issue when a really really new gadget comes in the market, as the blog notes:
The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them.
Google knows this well and is already making its moves. For example, recently they announced a partnership with Warby Parker. Sergey Brin seems to have his personal opinion on the matter: if you want to make the Glass seem normal, never take them off: http://qz.com/56430/sergey-brins-brilliant-strategy-to-make-google-glass...
7) Many companies would benefit from it
As the article in Seeking Alpha notes, there is a dozen of hungry companies out there, looking forward to the release and ready to make their moves. They will certainly promote indirectly the release. Nuance Communications (voice recognition technology maker) and HIMX (Glass maker) are a few names.
About HIMX, see the Seeking Alpha article, "Google Glass Coming Early; Shares Of Himax Are Poised To Triple".
(*) Naturally, many companies would get in trouble if the Glass release is succesful. But if they are smart, they will not try to stop the market (nobody can do this consistently over time) but to catch up, like for example, making patents (see reason 2)
8) Developing for Google Glass (like developing for many other Google products, technologies, API's, etc.) will be QEF: Quick,Easy and Fun!
As a smartphone developer, I can already imagine myself developing for Google Glass. This could happen faster than what most people expect. People who preordered the Explorer Edition of Project Glass have already been invited to two-day hackathons in San Francisco and New York, where they'll be the first group of developers!
See more about this point: http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/15/google-glass-foundry-hackathon/
9) The interface is just amazing. The glass is so thin it can barely be noticed when you drive, etc. Let's face it. The product has quality. It is a good product
If you do not believe me, watch this video and let us talk later.
10) You want to buy it
Be honest I am not asking whether you can buy it or not at 1,500 dollars. Imagine, for example, it is $300 dollars (what a decent smartphone costs). Wouldn't you like to have one?
The customer, in the end, is the one who is always right.