6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Cracking Open: Cracking Open: Google Glass Explorer Edition

About Video Transcript

Cracking Open: Cracking Open: Google Glass Explorer Edition

4:29 /

Bill Detwiler cracks open Google Glass and discovers the wearable computer's sturdy construction also makes repairs impractical.

Not since the iPhone or iPad has a gadget-generated more buzz, then Google Glass. So, of course, I wanted to take it apart and explore its internal hardware. Now, unfortunately, as I'll show you, this version of Google Glass wasn't built to be easily dissected or repaired. I'm Bill Detwiler, and this is Cracking Open. According to Google executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, Glass is still probably a year-ish away from hitting store shelves, but through the company's intuitive development style, Google is shipping 10,000 or so Explore units, like the one I'm wearing, to developers, beta testers, and winners of Google's If I Had Glass contest. And while the company may make a few tweaks to the product before launch, these test units still give us a good idea of what to expect in terms of overall design and hardware. So let's look at the specs. According to Google, Glass has a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot video at 720p. It supports 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Audio is provided by a bone conduction transducer, and the display is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. As for buttons and connectors, there is a Listen button, On-Off button, Capture button, a touch sensitive area, and a micro-USB port. There's also a Status LED and a rear-facing sensor array. Now, Google notes that Glass has 16 Gigs of flash storage; 12 of which are available to the user. But they don't specify what processor the unit has or how much RAM it comes with. And normally, this wouldn't be a problem. As fans of Cracking Open know, this is the point of a show where I show you how to pop off the gadget's cover and get it to the tech inside. Unfortunately, Glass was less than cooperative. Cracking Open Google Glass begins by removing the frame and nosepiece. Now, thanks to a single Torx T5 screw, this processes relatively simple. Removing the camera and display assembly's plastic cover was also relatively simple. Unfortunately, this is where my Cracking Open came to a screeching halt. I tried everything I could think of to get inside Glass' main and rear modules. Prying, poking, even heating, nothing worked. And because I wasn't given the green light to destroy this unit during my teardown, cutting the plastic off wasn't an option. So what are the CPU and RAM specs for Glass? Well, luckily, there are published reports of a developer using an Android debugging utility to pull information on the CPU and RAM from the operating system. If his information is accurate, Glass has a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor, which was also used on the Amazon Kindle Fire, and 1 Gig of RAM. Given what other developers and journalists have posted online, Glass also appears to have a gyroscope, accelerometer, and ambient light sensor. Now, I know this Cracking Open wasn't as thorough as most, and I hate not being able to show you the circuit boards and chips inside Google Glass. But as there are so few of the Explore Edition units available, and given that they cost $1,500 each, I just couldn't risk damaging it. And perhaps, that's the biggest takeaway from this half teardown. Given the camera and display assembly's construction, it's not inconceivable that you could replace it if it broke, but I don't see any way to safely get inside the main or rear modules. If they break, you'll likely need a complete replacement. Now, for more information on Google Glass, including real-world tests, check out Rachel King's non-nerd's guide over on sister site, ZDNet and of course CNET's full review. Now, to see more teardown photos and read my full hardware analysis, limited as it maybe, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen. I'm Bill Detwiler, thanks for watching.

New releases

McLaren P1: Harbinger of the hybrid supercar revolution (CNET On Cars, Episode 58)
23:31 January 30, 2015
McLaren P1 on the track and on the street, CNET Style. How engines get their names and what it means. Also: CNET's Top 5 cars of last...
Play video
Boost's ZTE Speed is a 4.5-inch, low-priced Android
1:07 January 30, 2015
Featuring a 5-megapixel camera, a quad-core CPU, and a 4.5-inch display, the ZTE Speed is one of Boost's prepaid bargain Androids.
Play video
The LaCie Mirror is perfect for narcissists
2:14 January 30, 2015
CNET editor Dong Ngo totally likes what he sees when looking at the one-of-a-kind LaCie Mirror portable drive. And that's because (you...
Play video
Rid your Android quick settings menu of oddball toggles
1:17 January 30, 2015
CNET's Dan Graziano shows you how to fix one of the most annoying features in Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Play video
Beats Pill XL: Bigger Bluetooth speaker justifies its premium price
1:25 January 30, 2015
We weren't such big fans of Beats' original Pill, but the company's jumbo-sized model is well designed and performs much better.
Play video
Facebook using beacons to show location 'tips'
2:50 January 30, 2015
Social network's new app feature sends location tips to your feed using GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth beacons. Meanwhile, your home Internet...
Play video
Testing out 'Insane Mode' in the Tesla P85D, Ep. 190
4:28 January 30, 2015
This week we get all nostalgic with the Prynt smartphone case that makes your iPhone work like a Polaroid camera, we learn some scary...
Play video
Nvidia G-Sync is a smooth move for PC games
3:01 January 30, 2015
The right graphics card and a G-Sync monitor can make games look better.
Play video