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Google Glass is Dead, ARA Phone is Prototyped

Google Glass is Dead, ARA Phone is Prototyped
by Eric Esteve on 01-16-2015 at 1:00 pm

These two products are linked because they have been invented by Google and both are disruptive technologies. Like was the Apple’s Newton tablet launched in CES Chicago in 1992 and finally stopped in 1998, due to the lack of success. To born again in 2010 as the well-known and best seller iPad in 2010, creating a new market segment (Tablet) generating 221 million units sales in 2013 (total market) and associated SC revenue estimated in the $12 to $15 billion. So when saying that Google Glass is dead, we must be cautious.

About Google ARA, I would just ask you a question: would you buy the pictured below product? Just a reminder: this is a phone…

In fact Google ARA is a “modular” phone, so you can add modules to a body from Google. The modules can be sold by any of the Google’s partners. Innovative capacitive interconnects and other new connectors have been defined to support the project. From a protocol standpoint, Google has wisely selected a proven Interface, UniPro specification and the associated MIPI M-PHY defined by the MIPI Alliance, and used for example to support Unified Flash Specification (UFS). Thus any module designer has to integrate MIPI UniPro/M-PHY to make sure that the product will smoothly interoperate with the body.

So far, so good (Except that the prototype demonstrated during Project Ara Developer Conference on the 14th of January stop working after a minute or so and could not boot anymore… but nobody’s perfect)

As far as I know from reading the press during 2014, Google has defined a rule specific to ARA: any module should have been tested and validated with any other existing module. I honestly don’t know if this rule is still valid, but in this case, such a rule would be a major drawback, as the number of required interoperability test that a new module would have to comply with would go up exponentially! Such a rule is what we could call a false good idea, working only on the paper, but not in the real world…

To come back with Google Glass, you can verify (above picture) that you can’t find it anymore on Google. I must say that I am not really surprised to see the product exiting the market! I remember some of the sales arguments for these glasses:

  • I you run a bicycle, you can use it to see a map or take a picture… As far as I am concerned, if I run a bicycle on a small country road, the goal is to escape my daily computer view, and to look at the landscape, not to another screen.
  • My thought is that Google Glass is typically a product developed by a company because it’s cool, not to fulfill a need or solve a problem. Moreover, using the product in your day to day life will rather generate problems: from eye sickness to preventing you to walk in a street!

Nevertheless, Google has appointed Nest CEO (and iPod designer) as Google Glass “big boss” or decision maker, but not asked him to run the team on a day to day basis. Maybe that Google Glass will be the next Tablet, in 15 years from now?

My 2 cents: IoT and wearable could be a decent source of SC growth, but betting huge amount of money, because you can do it like Google and because the product looks cool for a bunch of nerds will not be enough to succeed. I think that certain marketing peoples have been spoiled by the incredible success of the wireless phone (and now smartphone and tablet) and think there will be another “magic” product anytime soon. The next product passing from a couple of hundred million unit sold per year to several BILLION in less than 15 years may not come before another 15 or 20 or even 25 years!

From Eric Esteve from IPNEST

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