Wearable Intelligence 2015-07-03 12-51-39

We told you yesterday about a new device that passed through the FCC—codenamed GG1—and many have speculated that it’s the next generation of the Google Glass hardware. While it’s often suggested that the device is soon going to get some iterative Explorer Edition overhaul and see its first official consumer launch, it’s much more probable that Google is first going to push this hardware toward the one place it has seen success: the enterprise market.

As we reported earlier this year, there are many different prototypes of a future Glass hardware revision being tested within some Glass for Work startups. We’ve come to learn from people familiar with the matter that the next hardware is being referred to by Google internally as “Enterprise Edition” or “Google Glass EE” (If you remember, Explorer Edition was referred to as “Google Glass XE”)…

Most importantly, this is a drastically different direction than the one that many assumed—and for the fanboys, hoped—the next Glass would go. As was evident with Explorer Edition, there are many things about Glass that make it not quite ready for consumers, and it’s not likely that Tony Fadell and his new team have quite worked out those kinks. Meanwhile, a different Glass has been in the works. It’s not exactly a “2.0” version of Glass, but rather new hardware with the new strategy that ex-Google CFO Patrick Pichette referenced in Google’s Q4 2014 earnings call.

The device named “GG1” that passed through the FCC seems very likely to be this new hardware—or at least some version of it—and it makes complete sense. Almost all of the Glass at Work startups have focused on the video streaming aspect of the device and have invested millions in software built around it. And in the workplace, this is where Google Glass has been discovered to be most useful. Amped up WiFi capabilities with ac WiFi and 5 GHz support, as well as Bluetooth LE, make sense for video streaming—and Glass startups are more than happy to take advantage of this.

Because this device has now passed through the FCC—just as the CAP1 health tracker from Google[x] did earlier this year—we can assume that Google might be ready to move toward wider testing potentially within the enterprise itself. The prototypes we’ve heard about have been under lock and key up to this point, but with FCC approval, it might be about time for Google to see how this device works in the field. Glass for Work startups have been hard at work since the discontinuing of the Explorer Edition, and perhaps Google is ready to let them test their new software where it matters.

And if Google is preparing to push this device into further testing, that probably means that the company is preparing for an official announcement. Companies often would much prefer to make their device official before it leaks to the world, and pushing the device into workplace environments would surely see leaks pop up left and right. Interestingly, the internal and external images of the GG1 are set to go public on December 28th, 2015. So sometime before that date, we’ll either find out what GG1 actually is, or we’ll know about the Enterprise Edition of Glass.

(Photo via Wearable Intelligence)

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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.