The next version of Google Glass may have Intel inside, giving the chip-maker a potential foot in the door of the wearable device market. While Google Glass seems to have lost momentum, it could recover if the next version is less expensive and appeals to a broader audience, and the chip change would be positive for Intel.
Google hasn’t announced plans for the next version of Glass, so the information is unofficial and speculative: People familiar with Google’s plans spoke to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the information on Sunday night.
If the reports are accurate, Intel’s Quark platform would likely be the brains inside Google Glass, replacing the Texas Instruments chip Google currently uses. Intel announced its chip for the growing Internet of Things market in September, 2013 and showed off designs for wearable devices meant to use it at the January 2014 Consumer Electronics Show; those devices actually ran on ARM-based processors, however.
Glass itself hasn’t quite taken off but there’s still potential here for Intel. The wearable display is now available to anyone in U.S. but costs $1,500 and has limited developer support when compared to other mobile devices and platforms. And Glass still has a social stigma as people are concerned about their privacy when around Glass-wearing consumers.
I don’t have details on what the next version of Glass will look like but I have heard that a consumer version of Glass would be less expensive than the current Explorer Edition; perhaps not $299 as I had originally thought though. A lower price and a camera-free model could spur sales and interest, which would help Intel if its chip were powering the device.
Either way, Intel and Google are getting quite cozy these days. The Chromebook market was first dominated by ARM-powered laptops and now the majority of Chrome OS laptops available use Intel chips. And that new Nexus Player available in time for the holiday season uses an Intel Atom chip as well, even as most other set-top boxes are still using silicon based on the ARM architecture.