Google is set to discontinue the sale of its smart eyewear Google Glass, but the tech giant plans to release new, consumer-friendly versions of the device in the future.
Google has announced that it will no longer sell its experimental first version of Glass which went on sale in the UK last year priced at 1,000 pounds.
The company said that the Glass project would not be scrapped, with development continuing towards the creation of a viable consumer product. The company did not indicate, however, when its next version would be made available.
“January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready,” the company said.
Google will also shut down the Explorer programme, which produced the first commercial version of Glass within Google X, the company’s special projects wing.
The Glass project will now have its own division, headed by Ivy Ross, its current manager, ‘The Times’ reported.
Ross and the Glass team will report to Tony Fadell, founder and chief executive of smart thermostat maker Nest Labs, which was acquired by Google a year ago.
Although Google Glass won’t be available to individuals after January 19, businesses and developers will still be able to purchase the product.
“It’s patently obvious that Google released this product before it should have. People spent a lot of money to get hold of the [Explorer] version, but when they actually did, there wasn’t much they can do with it. The biggest disappointment is the lack of apps for it,” said Nicky Danino, a senior lecturer in computing at the University of Central Lancashire.
“Google should have kept this project under wraps for longer and waited to release it when it was more reliable and had other uses,” Danino said.
Google Glass is a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). Google started selling Google Glass to qualified “Glass Explorers” in the US in April 2013, before it became available to the public in May 2014.
Google Glass was banned in some public places in the UK such as restaurants, hospitals and cinemas after the device sparked concerns about covert filming and privacy.