I’ve always loved New Year’s, there’s so much hope and excitement with the promise of the year to come, but less than a week in 2014 has already established itself as my most exciting year so far: last week we reached our funding goal on IndieGoGo, a full month before the deadline! The response has been overwhelming and amazing, and I’d like to send another heartfelt THANK YOU to the hundreds of developers and early adopters on Indiegogo so far who are helping to turn Atheer’s vision into a reality. I can’t wait to see what you go out and build on our platform.
While my own enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of every Atheerian here in Mountain View cannot be bridled, 2014 promises to be a very important year for all wearable computing in general, and not one without dangerous pitfalls around every corner. Excitement for wearables is at its peak right now, and this year will prove pivotal in shaping the face of this bursting market.
Robert Scoble wrote a great post last week about the problems many have identified with certain design and functionality choices in Google Glass. On a lot of the issues he raised Mr. Scoble was spot on – Glass is made for a limited UI and use case, there won’t be enough apps in its ecosystem for a long time, if ever, it’s too difficult to acquire and the current UI is too limited. The battery life isn’t great, contextual filtering isn’t smooth, and no, you can’t even get onto Facebook.
Of course Google is working on all of this, as Mr. Scoble knows, and they’ll probably produce a great product in the long run – we’re preparing to ship that product later this year. Scoble noted ten problems with Glass, and we had worked hard in Atheer to tackle those exact same problems:
1. Expectations – The expectations are too high for Google Glass given its limited size and functionality, but the first Atheer units to ship will provide all the capabilities of a 23” 3D HD tablet and more just a gesture away. Star Trek set the bar pretty high, but here’s a video that shows the vision for where we’re headed.
2. Glass is too hard to acquire – anyone, developer or consumer, can order their Atheer wearable computers today, and they don’t require custom fitting so they’ll be ready to go they day they arrive at your door.
3. Not enough apps – Atheer will be able to leverage the full power of over 1,000,000 Android apps on day One.
4. UI Can’t Handle a Lot of Apps – Atheer’s interface features 2XGA resolution displays that have the immersive experience of 23” tablets held at half an arm’s length.
5. Battery Life – battery technology hasn’t caught up with where Atheer’s is headed, so we’ve decided to keep the battery in your pocket for now until we can deliver the lightweight, long-lasting experience we want.
6. Contextual Filtering – With Google Now and other apps, Atheer is on the leading edge of contexualization. Going to the airport? You’ll get a perfectly timed alert for you to catch your flight and see all the needed info while you’re in the cab. With the Atheer SDK, developers can take contextualization to another level.
7. Photo work flow- Atheer devices are super-charged Android tablet that float in the air in front of you, and so the easy photo work flow in current tablets and smartphones gets inherited directly. Share to wherever you want with a click or a swipe, and add a description just like you do on your tablet.
8. Facebook – WE NEED IT! So we have it. When Facebook made their mobile push their best developers were working on Android so the best Facebook experience will be on Atheer.
9. App distribution system – Google Play, the best development and distribution experience out there is at the service of Atheer developers so there’s nothing to hold you back.
10. The Gruber Problem – Some of the smartest people in the world didn’t believe you’d have a PC in every house, and others didn’t believe in tablets. With time, many people will adapt and take advantage of wearable and immersive computing.
We haven’t perfected wearable computing yet, far from it, but we’re getting close and the future is just around the corner. We’ve been working for years to get to build our platform and get to this point, and with the enthusiasm and participation of all our Indiegogo backers, we’ll show you just how close we are later this year.
Happy New Years from all the Atheerians here in Mountain View!!