My Google Glass unit has finally arrived. I've had a few days to play with Google's fancy new heads-up display, so it's probably time for some first impressions. A full review will be coming at some point.

One of the most striking things about Glass is just how well put together the whole package is. Everything about the design, from the hardware, to the typography, to the cool little whoosh noises it makes just oozes polish. What's here is certainly not finished, but even in this state it is easily the slickest product Google has ever produced. Glass feels like the culmination of the new, design-focused Google. This is the company that made Google Now, and it is completely different from the company that shipped Android 1.0.


The display is unlike anything I've experienced. You can read about a heads-up display, and you can watch videos of it, but nothing really prepares you for the first time you strap on Glass and suddenly see the time floating in front of you. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a transparent display? When was the last time a computer screen was part of your vision? For most people the answer to this is "never." Glass is unlike any other piece of technology out there.

Everyone I show Glass to instantly starts smiling, and they usually give descriptions that involve phrases like "from the future" or "alien technology." Put Glass on your head for just a few seconds and you immediately realize what a landmark device it is. I've never seen a piece of technology that makes people so happy.

I really wanted to get a decent video of the display, but that's a bit of a challenge. A DSLR really doesn't fit inside Glass, so for now my solution is to record the screen from the front. Because of how the crazy prism works (magic) viewing Glass from the front means everything is mirrored and extremely tiny, so I recorded video of a backwards UI with a macro lens (which normally pumps out pictures like this) and flipped it later. So if you notice me scrolling in the wrong direction a lot, that's why. Just consider it a thorough demonstration of the bounce scrolling. So without further ado, a video:

For the record, the Glass display is crisp and clear with no pixilation, cameras just have a little bit of trouble with it. The only problem I've had with the display is the design of some 3rd party apps. The New York Times and Reddit occasionally run into white text on a white picture, which is... difficult. (but those apps aren't really any good anyway.)

I really like Glass, and I wish I could do most of my computing on it, but right now, finding an excuse to use it is tough. I would love it if I could read and reply to Google+ notifications, or use Google Talk, or Keep, or Calendar, or Google Reader a RSS app. For now though, it's just a text message machine and email reader.

What is here though, is really, really good. The form factor and interface is innovative and useful, and the UX team is absolutely killing it. The Glass interface feels like something from a sci-fi movie.

Google just needs to get all their services up and running on this platform so I can do stuff with it. There are a ton of things that Glass needs to fix, but I'll leave that for later. I'm having too much fun with these to care about any of that right now.

I'll go get to work on the review, which will be done when it's done, but I promise it will be worth the wait. Since most people won't be able to see or use Glass for an entire year, I'll have to be really thorough. It's also a totally new computing product, so some things will require a lot of explaining. If you don't have Glass and wish you did, or just want to know more about it, you'll really want to read the review. It will be the next best thing to owning Glass yourself. I'll go get to work.

Tony Stark, out.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://twitter.com/Mo3tasm Mo3tasm

    Dude, you are full of luck...

    • etche

      ...or money

      • Harsha

        I don't think Ron paid for it. Isn't it a test unit sent out for initial testing?

        • etche

          It must be one of the developer edition that devs could subscribe to in Google's latest I/O. I think they were around $1500. Maybe he paid for it or AP did. Either way, I'm pleased Ron has one and a full review is coming.

          • Sootie

            Ron paid for it with his own money at last years IO

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          I definitely paid for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

    holy shit... that voice recognition O_O

    • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

      my thoughts exactly.

    • RedPandaAlex

      Dat voice recognition*

    • AaronFroom

      To be fair, Google Now on android 4.1 and up has been pretty fantastic with instant voice recognition

      • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

        It doesn't even come close to the speed of this bad boy...

        • AaronFroom

          Mine does on my GS3, frequently

          • Mike

            Really? All my friends GS3s are really slow at just about everything.TouchWiz really did a number on those things I guess.

          • Mother of Four

            Mike, you don't have friends.

          • QwietStorm

            I guess you got a lot of "friends," eh, mother of four?

          • http://twitter.com/qu4ttr0 Drew

            at least four...

          • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

            doubt it's as fast :P i use google now occasionally on my s3, still not as fast. DEFINITELY BUYING A Glass if it doesn't cost more than my phone..

      • JG

        In that case, they really need to use the Google Now/Glass voice recognition software for their Google Voice project... I have it set to text me transcriptions of voice mails and usually it's just a bunch of nonsense gibberish, and I have to listen to the message after all.

  • Phill_S

    That video is really awesome. Cant wait for these to go on general release in ~a year

  • heat361

    Great video Ron it really allowed me to see the speed of glass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001812819823 Michael Bro

    So, Glass is a beautiful piece of hardware but you can't do anything with it?

    • JensAstrup

      It's all about the apps, just takes time :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001812819823 Michael Bro

        Yeah, I agree. But in my opinion it's hard to have a great hardware and not being able to really use it. I'll wait for v3 :)

        • N8

          That's the point of this version of the hardware - to get units out into people's hands and build buzz and hopefully get a bunch of units into DEVELOPER'S hands so they can start getting familiar with the user interface and writing apps that take advantage of it.

          This is not a general release - a lot of people had to go through a lot of hoops to apply for the *right to spend $1500* on this incomplete (massively cool, but still incomplete) bit of hardware.

          Many of those people will be the same ones who have apps written and ready for the likes you and me when Version 2 or 3 come out. :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001812819823 Michael Bro

            I entirely agree ;)

          • Nick V

            When this is released a year from now, we will have more Apps built for it than Apple could ever hope for with their iWatch! :)

    • http://twitter.com/KharyTheCEO Cam Newton

      Reminds me of an iPhone haha

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001812819823 Michael Bro


  • Harsha

    How to get one? Just leave a email address in their glass website?

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      You need to have either paid for one at Google I/O last year, or been one of the 8,000 people picked to buy one in their Twitter contest this year. So far that's the only way to be able to buy one.

    • djakdekiel

      You can't now. It's closed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/abhikurve Abhi Kurve

      Yes,go ahead! :D

  • http://twitter.com/Ammonkapow Ammon Rhett

    Glad you're holding off on the review. I'm tired of these reviews panning an unfinished product.

  • Rafael Eduardo Wefers Verásteg

    Oh I see what they did here... they put a quite advanced version of Google Now on a device. Oh yeah... I can totally see how this will replace my phablet. NOT!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      then have you have a narrow small minded view of tech. You probably believe the world is still flat too.

    • omegavesko

      Idiots like you are why I'm afraid making the Explorer program so public is going to turn out badly. You're looking at a device more than an entire year from being a consumer-level product, of course it's going to be unfinished.

    • rmsiceberg

      I don't think the plan is to replace the phone, since it actually works WITH your phone/tabet, so, nope.

    • http://twitter.com/qu4ttr0 Drew

      The fact that you actually have and brag about a "phablet" speaks volumes more than your mouth ever could.

  • tehsouthpaw

    Rick Vera seems to be warming up to Glass.

  • Mehmet Fatih YILDIRIM

    Voice recognition understands the words faster than me, omg.. btw its the very first video I have ever watched about Glass that doesnt include some animation-style glass interface, but
    actually shows the interface lens with macro camera, Thanks!

  • David Shellabarger

    Not to be too nitpicky but Android 1.0 never shipped. 1.5 was the 1st version to ship.

    • József Király

      Actually it did. The first few releases of the T-Mobile HTC Dream (and maybe the developer G1?) shipped with 1.0, then got an incremental update first to 1.5 then to 1.6. Almost three years ago, when I got my first Android phone, what happened to be the G1, original, from the US, with T-Mobile sticker and all, it came with 1.0, and my first thing was to root and replace it with CM6 :D
      (I recall so good because 1.0 was the only release of Android where the background terminal was actually live on the keyboard, so you could easily issue commands using the qwerty keyboard. First update, coming like, a month after release, fixed this problem).

      • Chuck Falzone

        Original G1s shipped with 1.0, but 1.1 was the first update. 1.5, which was Cupcake, was a few months after that.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          @everyone in this thread - Noooooooone of this matters. "Shipped" can be a metaphorical thing in the software world, meaning "created," or "released." 1.0 was a thing that existed.

        • József Király

          Hmm, okay, by the time I got the phone, the first update directly pushed it to 1.5, that's why I assumed it was the first update.

  • Mitchell Feigley

    Isn't there a Google Now card for calendar?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      No, not that I've seen, anyway.

      • Mitchell Feigley
        • Andrew Loiacono

          Yea, my phone shows "next appointment" cards all the time. Maybe all the cards are not available yet on glass.

          • Mitchell Feigley

            That support article is specifically for Google Now on Glass

          • Jeffrey Young

            That card is showing on mine. I'm not seeing appointments from other calendars though, just my main.

      • Vamsee

        Is it just me or does it seem to be excessively menu driven? One swipe each for each action? Or, are there APIs to issue voice commands for those actions and leverage that awesome voice recognition?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          Only for the stuff after the OK Glass screen. There are... 6 or so voice commands.

  • Colton Walker

    The clean edition of George's comment: Holy mother of all voice recognition batman! That's FAST!

  • Gary Ogden

    I think your facebook message in that video mentioned penis?

    • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

      And I thought I saw something simillar to ''fuc**ng''

    • Gloria Tortorella

      Ahah something about a penis doodle in ASCII characters, he couldn't choose a better email xD

  • Phillip White

    Love the UI, looks like it would be awsome on a watch as well.

  • Elias

    Uh... AFAIK, Google never shipped Android 1.0. I guess it started on 1.5. I may be wrong, though.

    • N8

      1.0 and 1.1 technically shipped. Only on one phone, the HTC Dream, but it was production software and there was a phone in the wild running it. 1.5 is where Google started using the "dessert" naming convention - before that they were just version numbers.

      This seems to confuse people (many people, not just you) into thinking that Cupcake was the first released version.

  • http://mavi222.deviantart.com/gallery/ Mavi

    What about battery life? A lot of people says it's really low and doesn't last long at all. How long it can stay on?

    • Joshua

      Notice that he had a couple different shots of the battery level screen. I think the first one was at 60% and the next ones was down in the high 50s, maybe 57 or so. You can try to use that, along with the time difference, to estimate battery life under constant use conditions. The estimate will probably be quite terrible, but it's better than nothing I guess.

      • http://mavi222.deviantart.com/gallery/ Mavi

        Yeah I noticed the same in every video of Google Glass, it drops so quick.. I hope Google will work on the battery a lot. That's the main thing I am looking at, if I will buy something like that in the future, I want it to be able to survive the whole day.

  • http://twitter.com/xplodwild Guillaume

    I want it, now.

  • br_hermon

    LOL Great way to end your video Ron, "Holy Crap!" hahaha :)

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    We absolutely need Google Now on it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It pretty much *is* Google Now at its core.

  • Metallinatus

    Watches looks so outdated now....

  • CristianoAdiutori

    We have to be very positive on this technology. I guess.

  • http://twitter.com/trickedoutdavid David Margolin

    @ronamadeo:disqus system dump please (sorry for bothering you so much about this..)

  • s44

    So *did* you end up with an ASCII doodle of a penis in front of your face?

  • Craig M

    Ron sounds like Kermit the frog :)

    • EMullins

      It's not easy being Glass.

      And yet it still understands him perfectly!

  • jonathan3579

    From the little time you've had so far, is the 3-3.5 hour battery life accurate?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      It's more a "how much you use it" kind of thing. The majority of the time, Glass is off, and uses very little power. So how many emails do you read in an hour? How many voice commands do you give it in an hour? The battery is short, but wildly dependent on how much you use it.

      • jonathan3579

        Ah, thank you very much! It sounds similar to the Nexus 4's screen-on time which isn't all that long compared to other phones however light use and standby change everything.

  • hyperbolic

    Epic ending

  • sempersi

    OK glass, are you half full or half empty?

  • mldi

    LOL, I love it when shit crashes while you're trying to demonstrate it.

  • dsass600

    What happens if you ask it a question, and it doesn't know the direct answer? For example, I ask my phone, "How long has Barack Obama been married?", it fails to bring up a "card-like" answer, and just presents search results. What does Glass do in this situation?

    • nawa

      I saw somewhere else (don't remember where already), that it shows one or two links on screen and you can scroll them. Not sure they are clickable though, this wasn't on the video.

  • Tod salvador

    If i could afford a pair they would be on my face right now. And you know something, i'd have to say that i would also be a responsible person and not drive with them on. Mercedes benze tested the HUD windshield and deemed it to dangerous. Please Google, would you please try to initiate some type of restriction so lives will be saved.

  • Lou


    Willing to sell it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

      Google could remotely disable it..

  • Josh Michielsen

    I would really like to see them taking voice commands to the next level here. Eg. You receive an email:

    "Ok Glass, read email" "Next page" "Set label Work and Archive"

    Being able to control every aspect of the glass interface with voice commands would take this to a new level of awesome for me.

    • http://twitter.com/qu4ttr0 Drew

      Im sure it will, bear in mind its a year out...

  • Dakiro

    Great implementation of the idea. Very expensive for most of us, though. I will wait for dirt-cheap implants :D

  • Tomi Golob

    Imagine watching a kung fu movie with it ,on the go.... *HIIIIYYYYAAHH!*

  • http://www.facebook.com/sfreemanoh Steve Freeman

    I know it's going to sound even MORE like a Tony Stark toy...but how about doing away with the touchpad interface (or whatever it is), and integrating motion gestures? Having to keep tapping your Glass to switch cards, emails, etc would get annoying, I think.

  • Gary Tietjen

    Haha love the email bashing Google Glass at 3:13

  • JG

    Ron, how does the glass display handle sun? Now that it's getting nicer out I'm wanting to spend more time out walking around hacking portals, etc... . But my phone's display is crap in the sun & I can barely see anything...