Samsung reportedly close to releasing Glass competitor — and Google’s involved
This one is definitely a rumor, but its source is reliable enough to warrant a little speculation. Analyst and blogger Eldar Murtazin tweeted a rather definite message this week that Samsung is “developing [its] own version of Google Glass. We will see it (probably) around April – May under Gear Glass brand.” Given that Google’s own version of Glass is not expected to hit the mass market until early 2014, Samsung’s Glass competitor could very well race Google’s to market.
That might seem like a nightmare for Google, which has invested heavily in Glass and is no doubt planning for a strong event launch, but as was pointed out in a CNet article, the use of the word “Glass” implies an official partnership. Samsung is known for its aggressive branding and Google would likely raise legal concerns regardless, so it’s unlikely the brand Gear Glass would be used without a partnership.
Does Google even want to sell Glass, or does it just want you wearing face-screens?
If Google is involved, it would almost certainly be in terms of software and basic technology; there’s no point in Samsung reinventing Google’s eye-tracking or bone conduction technology if it doesn’t have to, nor in building a whole operating system from scratch. Samsung has become used to profit sharing with the internet giant, and despite recent rumors that the Galaxy brand might move away from Android, that seems out of character given its increasing integration with other Google products like Docs. If Google is involved in a Gear Glass solution, that would effectively end any worrying on that score.
More than that, however, Google is fundamentally a software company. It seemingly moved into mobile phone hardware just to put out phones without additional proprietary software, pushing Motorola along with little fanfare until the Moto X. It seemed not to know what to do in an arena where it can’t just release a promising beta and produce a grassroots movement around it. That only works when your product is free. Google tends to approach hardware as a necessary evil in support of its true work on the software side. It entered the telecommunications industry with Fiber, expressing open frustration that it was necessary to do so.