One of the shortcomings of the initial Glass hardware was its inability to be used in conjunction with prescription eyewear. Although users could sometimes get away with wearing Glass on top of or in addition to glasses, users with certain prescriptions ultimately couldn't see the HUD either way. In a post to Google+, Google today announced a new version of Glass coming with support for a new line of sunglasses, compatibility with prescription eyewear, and the addition of a mono earbud, hopefully in place of the bone conducting speaker on the current Glass model.

The current Explorer Edition (XE) model of Glass is based on a 45nm OMAP4430 clocked at up to 1 GHz, and 1 GB of RAM. Although there's nothing in the announcement about the underlying hardware regarding SoC or camera changes, I'd hope this new version of Glass uses a newer SoC built on a newer process to improve battery life and performance. Although the current version of Glass can make it through a full day, recording videos or using Hangouts on Glass can quickly heat the unit up and drain the battery. I've enjoyed wearing Glass but improving the performance in a few places would make the experience much better. In addition getting rid of the bone conducting speaker and going with a more pragmatic earbud would make hearing Glass much easier. 

Google made it clear with Glass XE that the hardware wasn't final, even in the kernel software there's explicit mention of Glass being an EVT (Engineering Verification Test). For current explorers, Google is offering a one-time swap out to the newer hardware beginning in November. The explorer program is also expanding in scope – current explorers will be able to invite an additional three friends to join the program.

Source: Google+, Glass FAQ

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  • BMNify - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    Yay , Some more Glassholes on the street!! Now, with upgraded hardware :)
  • Sunsmasher - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    "Glassholes".... Lol!
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It's the best, isn't it?
  • jjeremycai - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    Can someone link me to why Glass switched to an earbud over the current design? Thank you in advance.
  • TwiSparkle - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    The problem with bone conduction is that it has to be situated just right, and there is nothing blocking sound from entering your ear. With an earbud it is easier to hear because it mutes other sounds coming in.
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Right, so now wearing the Google Glass permanently deafens you in one ear (so long as you're wearing it)... that's not going to fly for convincing people to wear these things full-time.
  • syadnom - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    yeah, cause bluetooth headsets are a total flop.
  • THizzle7XU - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    People still use those on occasion, but the whole people wearing them all the time definitely was a fad that I was all too glad to see die out.
  • pukemon1976 - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    do invited friends have to pay or is google handing these early editions out?
  • agent2099 - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    You have to pay.

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