In the wake of Google’s discontinuation of the Glass Explorer Edition, many have been left wondering what "what now?". AugmentedReality.org clearly still has high expectations in the wearable AR space, and I'm sure by now many of you have heard about Microsoft's announcement of Holo Lens, which has already captured minds both near and far. Interestingly, the top 3 winners from Leap Motion's 3D Jam contest were all geared toward introducing real world elements (e.g. your own hands) into VR environments, thus pushing the solutions closer towards AR rather than pure VR. Its probably safe to say the wearable AR market is going to continue to heat up.
So what about Google? Are they bowing out? While Google didn't provide any clear indication to the successor to Glass, they did hint that there will be a successor. At the same time Google disclosed an investment in a largely unknown startup called Magic Leap. Other than the whopping investment valuing Magic Leap at 2 billion dollars for a company that most people knew very little about - one remarkable aspect of this investment was the fact that it came from Google Inc. rather than Google's other investment wings or labs. Some analysts believe that this indicates Google's intent to move this solution into their core offerings sooner rather than later. And if that wasn't enough reading between the lines for you, and you like following the Miami classifieds; you might have noticed numerous job postings in the fields of computer vision, hardware design, Android developers, and Unity3d developers. It seems like Google And Microsoft might have set off on similar goals at the same time. Whether, Google may in fact be cooking up a more Glass like Glass replacement - we’ll just have to wait and see.
What I find interesting about the culmination of these recent augmented reality trends is the verbiage. Magic Leap, self-described as a "Human computing platform" dedicated to "bringing magic back". Holo Lens, "the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen". Notable omissions of course are the words augmented and reality. Is augmented reality a bad word, or should we instead hark back to familiar technological paradigms from the 70's and 80's? I guess time will only tell how these giant industry players decide to shape the perceptions of consumers.