Google Inc. (GOOG:US) released technical specifications for its Glass wearable computing device, encouraging software developers to create applications for the Web-enabled spectacles as they get closer to mainstream sales.
Google, which is stepping up its challenge to Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and other smartphone makers, said Glass devices will feature about a day of battery life, a high-resolution display and a five megapixel camera, according to a statement on its website. The digital eyeglasses feature voice-recognition technology, avoiding the need for keyboards.
Google is betting that it can convince consumers to adopt a wearable computer offering some of the same capabilities as a smartphone. Glass may compete against a wristwatch-like device being developed by Apple that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad. Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on its device, two people familiar with the plans said in February.
“Google Glass has a great opportunity to make a solid first impression,” said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner Inc. “They’re definitely making progress.”
The ability of Google Glass to respond to voice commands opens up a big opportunity for developers and hardware partners to create new software and services, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said yesterday at an AllThingsD conference in New York.
“I always thought I’d be typing for the rest of my life,” Schmidt said.
By encouraging early developers to examine Glass, Google is incubating a software ecosystem similar to those that now exist for Android and Apple’s iOS. As of January, Apple had more than 800,000 apps on its store, while Google had more than 700,000. The digital eyeglasses will communicate with smartphones via Bluetooth wireless capability and an application called MyGlass that runs on newer versions of Android, Google said.
Google Glass, which is in use by a limited number of early adopters, will be available later this year and cost less than $1,500, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at an event earlier this year. Brin, in making his pitch for the devices, described smartphones as “emasculating.”
Google plans to make digital eyeglasses in the U.S. with Foxconn Technology Group, a person familiar with the plans said last month.
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