Blogger: Google Glass is 'doomed' -- for now

Tech journalist Robert Scoble posted this photo of himself wearing Google Glass in the shower last year.

Story highlights

  • Top tech blogger says Google Glass won't do well when it hits the market
  • Robert Scoble has used Glass since April 2013
  • Price, lack of apps likely will hurt its early sales, he says
  • But by 2020, he thinks the headset will be a hit
A noted tech journalist and early adopter of Google's Glass headset is declaring the technology "doomed," at least for 2014.
There's a tongue-in-cheek nature to Robert Scoble's pronouncement, which he shared with the 4.7 million people who follow him on Google+. His strong language, he said, was a send-up of the tech press's sometimes over-the-top approach to news.
But Scoble, who got his Glass headset in April on the second day the devices became available to some journalists and early testers, predicts the connected eyewear will flop with consumers when it goes on sale to the general public, presumably this year. Scoble said he thinks the price will be too high and there won't be enough apps or useful functions to make the wearable tech worth the cost.
He has a sunnier view of Glass's long-term prospects, though.
"By 2020 I'm quite convinced this will be a big deal and there will be lots of competitors by then," he wrote. "So, if you make it about 2020, then it isn't doomed. If it's about beating the Apple iWatch in 2014? Yes, totally doomed."
Apple has not rolled out a smartwatch yet but is widely rumored to be doing so soon, marking the tech giant's entree into the emerging wearable-tech field.
Google did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment for this article.
Glass is a headset with a camera and small screen situated above the wearer's right eye. The wearer can access the Internet and snap images and video by using voice commands.
A blogger and author, Scoble works as a new-tech "evangelist" for IT company Rackspace. But his influence in the tech community is broader and his writing helps shape opinion in some quarters.
Scoble has 374,000 followers on Twitter and has been one of the most visible Google Glass users. A photo of him wearing the headset in the shower went viral last year.
Scoble noted that Glass, which has sold for $1,500 to a limited number of beta testers, is likely to be released at a cost of more than $500. He says that's too much for the public at large.
"Price is gonna matter a LOT. But I'm hearing they won't be able to get under $500 in 2014, so that means it's doomed. In 2014," Scoble wrote. "When they get under $300 and have another revision or two? That's when the market really will show up. 2016, I say."
He said the headset will need to be custom-fitted to its wearer, and that customers will need to receive an hour or two of training before using it -- which will inflate its price. Scoble also believes that battery life, at least on the current Glass models, won't be enough for some people.
He said a lack of apps could also hurt.
"That will start getting fixed after a few months of release, but early users are gonna continually ask 'where's the Uber app?"' Or 'where's the Foursquare app?' Or 'why does the Facebook app suck?' he wrote.
Scoble criticized the lack of a quality Facebook app in particular.
"Sorry Google, but Google+ still isn't used by my family, friends, or those I speak with ...," he wrote. "Google+ isn't nearly as ubiquitous or as nice, truth be told, particularly for mobile users. This lack of Facebook support is the #1 thing that pisses me off about Glass."
All of that said, Scoble holds out hope. He said he still loves his Glass and that it's unfair to judge a test version of the still-new device as if it's a finished product.
"So, what would I do if I were Google? Reset expectations," he wrote. "Say 'this is really a product for 2020 that we're gonna build with you.' First release is in 2014, but let's be honest, if it's $600 and dorky looking, it'll be doomed -- as long as expectations are so high."
While still in limited release, Google Glass has already stirred up some controversy.
Some restaurants and other businesses have banned Google Glass over concerns about the headset's ability to take photos and record video. And users have already been ticketed for wearing them while driving, as lawmakers in several states consider laws to ban them behind the wheel.
And then there's their appearance. Glass's part-futuristic, part-dorky look has been mocked in such spots as the blog, White Men Wearing Google Glass.