I don’t feel the following needs any elaboration but for the sake of making my point I will do so anyway. When a device or software is in it’s beta phase it means that it is near completion. Typically, beta is the latest version before the final version is released. The main reason why it is released is based upon the fact that the endeavors or rather the efforts that businesses make to create the next big thing are naturally based upon an hypothesis. Therefore the best way to find out if the hypothesis is anywhere near the reality is to simply test it on real life people in real life situations. A point that was eloquently written about by Josh Bradshaw from WorkTechWork in his piece The Wearables’ Dirty Laundry.
“Going Against That Natural Urge to Protect What You Have With the Goal to do Better Should be Celebrated and Embraced.”
Personally I feel that, to actually pre-release a product or software kind of goes against our natural urge, simply because it takes a lot of courage to do so. Whatever you release puts your reputation on the line. If your hypothesis is completely off then what does that tell you(or even worse, others) about your level of insightfulness on the market as a whole. Going against that natural urge to protect what you have with the goal to do better should, in my opinion, be celebrated and embraced.
The above is easily projected on Google Glass, released February 2013. The fact that they did the price-psychology shuffle on early-adopters by making them pay a $1500 for the device can only be judged as a great marketing strategy. It gave the product the exclusivity it probably needed to get the right attention it sought.
While the tech savvy among us are presented with more and more choices between devices, it is almost as if we are forgetting that we are still living in a time where wearable technology is still in an incubation period. Design limitations are a real problem even for the brightest people working with the most innovative companies. Some could argue that Google, Apple or any other tech company have their back against the wall on this issue. Maybe it makes more sense to have a look at our level of expectation, so we can realize that we should applaud companies like Google, who stick their neck out, knowing that they will probably be slaughtered for it.
I am sure the jewelry designer Ivy Ross and Tony Fadell, who are both in charge of Google’s SmartEyewear division, will be extremely happy with all the valuable data they have gathered during the first Google Glass project. The sign of self-reflection expressed by Google X boss or rather Captain of Moonshots, Astro Teller, at SXSW, where he stated that “We allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program,” isn’t admitting a failure in anyway. Specially when it’s put in the light of the amount of behavioral and user data they gathered.
Luckily for some glass enthusiasts, there are reports coming out in the technology media that although the initial project was killed on the 15th of January, that a Google Glass 2 might be on the horizon. Apparently Google has been showing the glass to “some” of their more important partners. Whether this was before or after they pulled the plug it is hard to say. In conjunction with Google’s press release, where new versions of the smart glasses were spoken about, I think it might take some time before the GoogleGlass 2 will be released. This is because I don’t see Google using the same strategy again.
Anyhow, I am sure even Apple has learned a thing or two about Google’s trial release and the fact that slowly more news is published that they have set a team on researching the augmented reality space themselves speaks clearly. In my opinion Google’s initial strategy was to innovative in the smartest way possible and it is unfortunate that everyone seems to be waiting in line to crush the company. While maybe they should be complimented for their marketing strategy. But if you don’t understand that the best way forward for Google was to build the best possible SmartGlass whilst being unafraid of failure then you probably don’t want to. Which to me kind of feels like someone making a witted joke but it’s too witted for someone to understand it. If that’s the case, then the joke is on you.