One of the first tech writers to be balls-out honest instead of sycophantically, droolingly gaga about the functionality of Google Glass is Computer World's Matt Lake. In a piece titled "Why I'm Sending Back Google Glass," Lake lays out ten reasons why the $1,500 face computer is actually quite janky and alienating.
Lake was one of the pre-approved "Explorers" who was given the opportunity to give the device a test run last month during that brief, fake-out on-sale window. And now that it's for-real on sale to the public, Lake has some harsh words to say about this new technology that pretty much everyone has loved to hate, and slap off people's faces.
First off, the voice prompts, he says, are "about as responsive as your average 6-year-old after soda and cupcakes." And unlike an uncooperative Siri, you can't tap harder on your own phone or slam it down on a countertop in spite. "And if you get frustrated by unresponsive hardware, you soon remember that Glass is connected to the bridge of your nose. Tapping Glass's touchpad with any force will spite your face."
He also notes that "[i]f you actually use its capabilities, the battery drains like a bathtub," i.e. in about an hour, making it about as useful as a four-year-old iPhone 3.
The photo-taking functionality, he says, makes everything come out crooked. And as for the music-playing, well, the proprietary earbud options "don't appear to be designed for the human ear." And you might as well skip playing music altogether, because of the above-mentioned battery issue.
... if you're going to stream music, you'll be hard-pressed to get through Beethoven's Ninth without at least one recharge. And Beethoven doesn't sound right buzzing behind your right ear through the tinny built-in speaker.
And then there are the larger social implications:
People fear surveillance... Big Brother phobia makes Glass wearers targets of derision or actual crime. Wearing Glass makes you self-conscious enough without adding Mean Girls-style social snubs into the mix. No amount of frames or shades conceals the glowing prism at the front that brands you a Glass-exploring neo-cyborg.
Right. So. Not only should we not feel envious of any Glassholes we run into on the street or in bars, we should either continue shaming them, or just feel quietly smug about the fact that these early adopters just spent the price of a ticket to Europe on something that barely works.
In other news, the Epoch Times reports that this early adopter model does not reflect the final price point, and that by the end of the year a much cheaper version is likely to go on sale to the public. Probably with some bug fixes, too.