There are many concepts in the technology world, with a few coming to light. Google Glass and Xbox Kinect are just two groundbreaking products that have made it out of the lab and into the real world. But what about the lost potential?
Above is the first video of Google Glass – then called “Project Glass” – showing how it will integrate into our lives, by showing us all the information we need, when we need it. The person in the video is reminded of calendar events, told the weather when looking outside, notified that the subway is closed and is even navigated around a book shop. There’s even no apparent connection problems – Glass is always connected.
But in reality? It’s nowhere near as powerful.
Joshua Topolsky from The Verge took a look at pretty much the final version of Glass, and though it may be useful to record a video with just your glasses, and know the time simply be looking in the top right, it isn’t that useful in everyday life. Gone is the full vision overlay, and it turns out that the only built in apps are New York Times, Evernote, Gmail, and Path (at least at launch). Useful occasionally, but not all the time. There’s no Calendar, Weather, and (at launch) there will be no cellular version (Wi-Fi only) and you have to wake glass up before using it. I understand that more third-party apps will come, but it isn’t good that Google won’t be integrating simple first-party apps such as Calendar.
Yes, it was just a concept in that video. A preview of how Glass might end up. But the real Glass won’t be that useful in everyday life, and no amount of third-party apps can give you cellular data or a full, useful vision overlay.
So that’s Google Glass, with quite a lot of lost potential, at least in my opinion. Another example of this – but less so – is Xbox Kinect, previously known as Project Natal (I prefer the original name):
Xbox Kinect – the final product – is nowhere near as accurate or as powerful as that. It will likely be improved significantly in the upcoming Xbox update (Xbox 8? Xbox 720? New Xbox?), but it will probably never be quite as good as in the demo video. 4 years after that video was put online, can anyone walk into their living room, and just start talking, with the Xbox instantly knowing who they are? No.
So… many features have been lost in the transition between concept and reality. It hasn’t just happened with these products; everything from the Pebble, which requires terrible phone setup to, in some extent, Windows 8 and Windows RT, which are overall ok but lack amazing hardware and, in the case of the latter, lack apps and compatibility. It’s impossible to incorporate everything in the final product, so I just wish that companies would stop raising our hopes with amazing concept videos only to have our dreams shattered when the final product comes to market.