Google Powers Up Wearable Internet Devices Push

Variety

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Google wants its Android operating system to not only run the gadgets you hold in your hand — but also screens that wrap around your head and wrist.

On Monday, the Internet colossus announced it was expanding the Google Glass program, to allow the initial 10,000 beta testers of the devices to invite up to three friends to buy a pair of the $1,500 wireless-connected glasses over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Google is in “late-stage development” on a smartwatch, which could begin mass production within the next few months with Asian suppliers, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. The watch, which would compete with Samsung Electronics’ recently introduced model, is expected to be integrated with the Google Now digital assistant and cut power consumption, according to the report.

Both Apple and Microsoft are rumored to be creating smartwatches as well, as device makers look for the next big thing in personal tech after smartphones and tablets.

SEE ALSO: Google Glass Eyes Sky-High Supply: At Least 2 Million Units Annually

Google Glass represents an experimental approach to mobile computing — and the camera-enabled gizmos have already raised privacy concerns among policymakers. Theater owners, too, are concerned that Google Glass users could illegally record movies using them.

In announcing the expansion of Google Glass, the company said later this year it will release new hardware for Google Glass and will let initial users swap their existing pair for a new one. The hardware update will allow Glass to work with future lines of shades and prescription frames, and also includes a mono earbud.

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