To some people it seems as though Google Glass has already been released, with tons of developer kits out in the wild and numerous reviews already being posted. In reality however, the final version of Glass has yet to come out.
It has been a busy week for Glass as Google released an update for its software and the company began sending out invitations for a hackathon meant to perfect Glass prior to its official launch. Since the current version of Glass will end up being different from the final product, Google will allow trade-ins early next year so that people have the latest hardware and software for the device.
The latest update for Glass's software, XE11, brings upgrades to Google Calendar integration, navigation, screencasts and setup. All of these updates are meant to smooth out the software, with the intent of making it as clean as possible before Glass hits store shelves.
Google Calendar has been upgraded to allow users to say "OK Glass, google my agenda" or "OK Glass, google what I'm doing next week" in order to attain information regarding their upcoming events. A big change involves Maps, as the software now accepts pre-existing "Home" and "Work" locations as appropriate destinations.
The current tutorial for new users has been replaced presumably with the one Google wants to use at launch. Future Glass customers probably won't receive the personalized setup extended to the developer units and current users can see the new setup tutorial by initiating a factory reset.
Screencasting has been improved as Glass users will now be able to stream content to a nearby Android device that has the MyGlass app installed. Technically this feature has always been supported but it has been made easier with the addition of a dedicated screencast button.
Hackathon Before Launch
The next phase of Google Glass development will be centered around a hackathon, according to Google's press release from earlier this week. "We'd like to give you a first look at the next phase of the Glass Developer Platform during an exclusive, two-day hackathon in San Francisco," the invite reads. "Not to worry if you don't live near San Francisco. The announcement will be recorded and we'll share the video after the event."
With Venture Glass announcing that its line of prescription, sport, and fashion lenses for Google Glass will be available in early 2014, some consumers are hoping that implies a full launch of Glass before the second quarter.
As Google is still in the development process and needs to carry out a hackathon, it seems unlikely that a full launch will occur in the beginning of 2014. Instead, it seems more likely that a retail version of Glass will come out mid-2014. However, Google is expanding its Glass Explorer program, allowing three friends of current explorers to receive units. Even without an official release date, it is safe to say that Glass will be available in 2014.