Google Glass appears to be on its way back, and it's heading straight for the workplace with a bigger, faster design.
That's the consensus from recent filings made to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and a news report Wednesday citing sources familiar with the project.
It sounds like the "Enterprise Edition" of Google Glass will also have a larger prism display and an Intel Atom processor, along with an optional external battery pack, according to a report Wednesday from 9to5Google, which cited sources familiar with advanced prototypes of the device. Faster performance and a better battery life could be among the benefits of those new specs.
"Google Glass was a device ahead of its time," said Ramon Llamas, a research manager with IDC.
Aimed mainly at consumers, the first iteration of the device encountered a "quick and harsh" backlash, Llamas noted. "That helped shape the conversation that they were not ready for prime time and potentially not right for consumer use."
Smart eyewear holds considerable potential in the enterprise, however.
"Consider the airplane engineer or the operating-room surgeon," Llamas said. "This is a hands-free way to bring information to our eyeballs."
It would be smart for Google to target enterprises with a new version, he said, and if the reports are true, it may be heading in the right direction.
Battery life, for instance, would have to be better than it was in the original. "Last time I checked, the work day was eight hours on average," Llamas said. "You need something that will stick with you all that time."
A bigger viewing area would also be necessary, and so would a more rugged design. "The first version was very delicate," he said.
Even more important, though, will be applications, Llamas suggested -- "otherwise it's just a great piece of glass and metal."
Most likely, Google will take a vertical approach in its enterprise apps, with offerings tailored for customer service, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries, he predicted.
Last but not least, "it would be nice if it had a little bit of style," Llamas said. "If people are going to wear them, it should be possible to bridge aesthetics and IT."
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