Glass: Google's Crown To Lose

On January 27, 2010, Steve Jobs presented one of the most iconic keynote slides of his career: an iPhone on the left, a MacBook on the right, and a question mark in the center. In order for something to successfully bridge this gap, he argued, it must be better than both smartphones and notebooks at a few key tasks. Behold, iPad, the first tablet that didn't suck. iPad became Apple’s fastest-growing product to date, selling 15 million units in its first nine months.

In 2013, Google's attempting to pull off a similar feat: jumpstart a nascent category adjacent to smartphones in the hierarchy of personal computing. Let’s call this category wearable computers. Let’s also assume for a moment that Google can successfully convince us that Glass truly entails a new category of personal computing, rather than merely adding to the ever-growing list of failed smartphone accessories.

Google Glass isn't the first entrant in this category, of course, but it's the first seriously serious attempt and almost certainly the most ambitious. Google will need a miracle to replicate Apple's tablet success in the wearable market, but stranger things have happened and it’s not impossible. In order to prevent Glass from being little more than a niche experiment before its time, however, Google must complete this to-do list:

  1. Validate wearable computing as a legitimate category.
  2. Prove that glasses are better than watches as a wearable computing form factor.
  3. Perfect Glass’s primary input method.
  4. Massage the message.
  5. Get it on people’s heads.

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(This is my first article. I've only posted the intro here because it's against The Verge forum policy to post entire articles from other sites, even though plaidknight.com is essentially my online storage bin for The Verge forum posts. Note that the site has no ads; I'm not linking to it for page views.)