The next generation of Google Glass may have new guts, according to The Wall Street Journal, which expects a deal between Google and Intel.
The smart glasses currently run on Omap, an ARM-based SoC from Texas Instruments, but future iterations of the device may use Intel's x86 processor. Though officials from Google and Intel would not comment on the use of x86 chips, Intel has aggressively targeted the wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) markets since Brian Krzanich became the company's chief executive officer in 2013.
“Intel is in a position where they're going to do whatever it takes to get into some of these devices,” Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told EE Times. “There's obviously something very intriguing about the Intel architecture that Google noticed, compared to ARM. TI just is a slower, smaller, less apt to really innovate company right now.”
Moorhead expects Intel's Edison, a postage stamp-sized SoC, and Quark processor to fill the low-power, high-processing needs of Google Glass. Edison's small footprint may be a better fit for more stylish frames, which Moorhead expects to be key in increasing the popularity of the somewhat chunky glasses. Intel is already targeting wearables with its acquisition of the Basis fitness tracker, he said.
Envisioneering research director Rick Doherty said Intel has a close partnership with Google, from optimizing web browsing to tightening the relationship between x86 processors and Google's Android. Intel's participation in Google Glass will be a “marquee win,” regardless of the device's success.
“I think their bragging rights, assuming the rumors are true, are priceless,” he said. “Whether Google Glass is going to be a volume driver or not for x86 processors or even ARM processors, that's a much more problematic issue.”
Industry chatter has experts questioning the staying power of Google Glass. Doherty and Moorhead took issue with the device for being “creepy” and not suited for users with a dominant left eye.
“Everybody is trying lots of different things, and the hope is that one or two of the various experiments will pan out and lead the way for some massive new kind of devices,” Doherty said. “But we haven't seen that yet.”
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