Google has announced a major update to its Glass firmware coming later this week, but the move to Kit Kat also leaves behind a key feature: video calls.
The Glass team said the decision didn’t come lightly, but it decided to pull video calls because they weren’t living up to standards. Even so, the company says only 10 percent of Glass Explorers use the feature. Google didn’t provide a timeline on when it expects to re-introduce the feature, but it noted that some third-party developers should have their own streaming video solutions coming out soon.
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Dropping support for video calls on Glass feels like a notable marketing loss for Google, as the company has leaned heavily on video Hangouts to build up excitement for the product. For instance, Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s epic skydiving demo from Google I/O 2012 would have been a lot less cool without live video.
As far as what’s new in Kit Kat for Glass, Google says upgrading to its latest Android release will improve battery life, while also making the device more reliable and easier to update. Photos will now be grouped in bundles for easier scrolling, and photo messages will be supported in Hangouts.
If you’re keen to join the Glass Explorer program, Google is opening up a limited number of spots to anyone in the US on Tuesday at 6am Pacific.
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