Yesterday Google teased with photos of a new version of Google Glass featuring a mono earbud, saying that Glass ‘Explorers’ would be getting the revamped model later this year. Additionally, the company is working on custom frames for Google Glass to suit your style and/or prescription.
Outwardly, the new version of Google Glass looks nearly identical to the original, aside from the mono earbud. The first version of Glass uses bone conduction audio to transmit sound without a conventional speaker. However, issues with hearing difficulty and privacy have been raised as the bone conduction is not completely quiet. The mono earbud seems to have been added in response to those concerns. Google says that the earbud is not permanently attached and the new version of Glass will still have bone conduction audio—use of the earbud is up to the user.
Google notes in a post on the Google Plus Glass page that the pictured unit is the one “that Explorers will be getting when they swap later this year.” ‘Explorers’ are what Google calls those in the limited beta of the product. So far I haven’t uncovered any official details about Explorers being able to swap out their Glass for this newer version, so it is unclear who will be eligible. However, “later this year” tells us that people will have their hands on the new version of Glass within the next two months. The public version of Google Glass is expected to be available sometime in 2014.
Other major concerns regarding the current version of Google Glass involve battery performance and degradation of the projection prism over time. There’s no telling if those issues have been addressed on the new version of Google Glass.
In the comments of the same post, Google mentions that they’re working on custom frames for Glass which will be compatible with the new version:
Prescription frames for Glass aren’t ready quite yet, but this Glass will be compatible with them when they come out. You’ll be able to remove the titanium band and replace it with a compatible frame that suits your style, preference and prescription.