In an interesting recently announced move, Google Glass has decided to turn to Intel Corp. to supply the “electronic brains” for a revamped version of the device now in development.
The move pushes semiconductor giant Intel into the wearable technology sector, as it will now supply the processor originally supplied by Texas Instruments, Inc.
“Intel plans to promote Glass to companies such as hospital networks and manufacturers, while developing new workplace uses for the device,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “Google launched the Internet-connected eyewear in 2012 as a consumer gadget, but it was criticized by privacy advocates and widely regarded as nerdy. But Glass shows early signs of catching on as a workplace-computing device.”
The move also comes as Google’s “Glass at Work” program gears up to encourage use of the technology in industries such as health care, construction, and manufacturing venues where employees work with their hands but need readily accessible information.
Though spokespersons from Google, Intel, and Texas Instruments have not yet commented, Kevin Spain, a general partner of venture-capital firm Emergence Capital Partners, said Intel’s involvement is “a positive signal, not just about Glass, but about the wearable category generally.”
According to the WSJ, “While Google partners are promoting workplace uses of Glass, the Internet giant still views it primarily as a consumer device. More than 300 Google employees work on Glass, and fewer than 5 percent focus on Glass at Work, according to a person familiar with the business. Intel’s involvement won’t change this focus, the person said.”
No word yet on which Intel chip Google will employ in the new version of Glass. Insiders do say there will be an emphasis on power conservation.
“For wearables like Glass, the processor has to be lower power because the batteries have to be so small,” said Al Cowsky, an analyst at TechInsights’ Teardown.com, which analyzed the components of the first version of Google Glass early in 2014.