Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 1- The End of TV

Around 2010, television manufacturers at a trade show were wondering where the designs would go next.  The answers were smart-internet connected televisions and 3D.  Both ideas have been floundering about as neither has yet taken hold.  But everyone knows who is best at solving that problem: Apple.  They take care of every aspect internally.  Their approach to design is perfect for resolving the issues of a smart TV and their iTunes services is the perfect medium for providing the content.  They already have experience with their TV/cable box.  And they have scaled up the iPhone to make an iPad, so where’s the challenge in one more scaling.  How about in the naming; iProducer maybe?  When their product hits shelves it will likely be as much of a success as their other recent products, at least, in the short run.

2011 saw people begin to rise against the laws designed to maintain an industry that is destined to be diversified.  More and more people adopt devices to allow them to skip past the ads that pay the bills of Hollywood.  More and more people are turning to the cheaper smart TV options that have the internet built in.  The quality of the content may not be as great yet, but there will always be a demand for cute kittens and angry hamsters.  In response, the Hollywood lobbyists began fighting harder to bring issues to the front of politics.  A slew of bills were introduced (SOPA, PIPA) with great American acronyms generally meant to convey the idea to stop digital piracy and to make sure you have no reason to put children and pornography into the same sentence ever.  When this resulted in a backlash with the tech giants an epic corporate showdown commenced.  Most major websites, from Google to Wikipedia, planned a day of action.  Many people still have ‘CENSORED’ labels as part of their favorite social networking website icon.  All of this political theater discussion is simply to make the point that the ways of doing business since Edison will have to change in the era of names like Ballmer, Jobs, and Page.  Internet content providers are rapidly gaining content and viewers and the advertisers will not take long to notice.  The entertainment industry is crumbling as they try to protect their margins in a much more competitive market.  A recent TED Talk covers the absurdity of several of their claims. 

Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

Rob gives a good broad brush stroke of the insanity.  To get an idea of the individual accounts of how these lawsuits impact everyday people I recommend visiting this EFF (Electric Frontier Foundation) webpage.  

The latest bill to take to the trenches in its attempt to become a law is CISPA.  Unbiased information for it can be found on Wikipedia here.  It gives a good description, lists pros and cons, tells groups that both support and oppose it, and as it happens tells that this week, the week of April 16th has been declared 'Stop Cyber Spying Week'.  If you review the information about CISPA and want to take some action against it, I recommend signing this petition at  For the more advanced activist, contact the politicians that represent your interest.  As technology increases exponentially, society will change at an ever increasing pace.  Unless innovation and the proliferation of information are going to be stopped, the established systems must adapt or ultimately they will be out-dated and lose their audience.

It is expected that in 2012, Apple’s TV will take another bite out of the industry.  Google, will try with their own TV, but back to the original point.  With vendors making content for Google glasses, why bother with the TV at all.  At first it will start with the location apps and useful tools to help remind people of names, dates.  It reminds me of a summer job I had back in college.  I was a Sprint representative hired to work out of a Radio Shack to advertise their latest innovation.  Their innovation was to have color screens and cameras actually built into the phone.  Frequently people were curious and would stop to talk, but the usual reaction was, 'Why would I want a camera in my phone?'  Here is a headline from when they announced this marvel.

Press Release



Stylish Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG Features an Integrated VGA Camera in a Lightweight, Compact Design and Comes in Two Fashionable New Colors
Stylish Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG Features an Integrated VGA Camera in a Lightweight, Compact Design and Comes in Two Fashionable New Colors 

PM-225 and Specs from the same link
- Memory: 16 MB Flash/8 MB SRAM (download up to 1,024 KB)
- Internal Color Display: 65K Color STN LCD, 128 x 160 Pixels, 9 Lines
- External Color Display: 65K Color STN LCD, 64 x 96 Pixels, 3 Lines
- Standard Battery 1,000 mAh Li-Ion
- Talk Time: Up to 3.2 hours*
- Unobtrusive Internal Antenna
- VGA CMOS Digital Camera
- Self-Portrait Capability with Flip Closed
- Save up to 100 Photos
- Resolutions: 640x480 (VGA), 320x240 (QVGA), 160x120 (QQVGA) Pixels
- Customizable Color Effects, White Balance and Brightness
- Send Pictures to E-mail, Phone or Store Online
- Assign Pictures to a Caller ID or Screen Saver
Sprint PCS Vision service required.
The Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG is available for $219.99, or $69.99 after rebate with two-year advantage agreement.

The point of rehashing that bit of nostalgia is that now the camera is commonplace in phones.  It is as common as clock in coffee makers.  Any new tech can catch on in unexpected ways.  

Since they will be powered by Android, the glasses will have access to the Android Play Market.  Many content providers already have apps in the market; Netflix, VUDU, Google’s own movie service.  In the battle to be smartphone king, Apple butted heads repeatedly with Google and Google’s partners.  Lawsuits were abound and while there was innovation, the lawyers had to be fought every step of the way.  If Google makes a TV it will be the same fight.  If Google makes a TV, they have to compete with Apple in cost.  If Google makes glasses there is less legal cost and less manufacturing expense.  The innovation would abound as once again the way people live day to day would be forever altered.  It is the continual technological disruption.  Let me guess, you don’t see yourself watching TV on your glasses.  But do you see yourself wearing them for travel?  Can you see yourself looking at Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or Twitter?  If you are already doing that, why wouldn’t you have your favorite shows or stories running at the same time.  Currently, there is no good way to read a magazine on a treadmill.  The smart TV’s, especially the Apple TV, win in the upcoming years, but glasses would win the war.  The TV industry is obsolete.  Shall we discuss movie theaters?

UP NEXT: Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 2: The Welcomed End of Privacy


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