Traveling is great — nay, amazing. And travel that requires a passport can be even more fulfilling for those willing to open their minds to new cultures (and, perhaps, deal with entirely too much security screening). But here’s the thing — travel is a lot better, generally speaking, with an internet connection within arm’s reach. Things are never more likely to go awry than when you leave your comfort zone (or, you know, home nation), and we here at Engadget have been investigating the best methods for maintaining a connection whilst abroad for the better part of our lives. To date, you’ve got a smattering of options: rent a MiFi from XCom Global, pick up a rental SIM from iPhoneTrip, pray that you can find a shop that rents data SIMs upon your arrival or pony up for whatever absurd roaming fees that your home operator deems fit.
All of the above options have their pros and cons, but the good news here is that your choices are expanding. As the market for ubiquitous connections continues to grow, another player has recently entered the market. Tep Wireless began as a hotspot rental service that mainly looked after those traversing the United Kingdom, but recently, it expanded its coverage umbrella to include some 38 countries across Europe and 50 nations total. This here editor recently had the opportunity to cross through four of those on a single journey, with a Tep hotspot in hand the entire way. Care to see how things turned out? Let’s reconvene after the break.
While Vic Gundotra wasn’t willing to talk Glass in our run-in here at Google I/O, a few others were. In speaking with folks from Google, we learned a few new details about the project, while confirming some whispers that we’d heard floated in the past. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Engineers are currently ‘experimenting’ with connectivity options. Existing prototypes — including those worn in the skydiving stunt this morning — do not have any sort of built-in WWAN connectivity.
- While it’s possible that a 3G / 4G module could end up in production devices, the general idea is that latching onto nearby WiFi hotspots or relying on a wireless tether with your smartphone will be the primary way that Glass gets its data to the web.
- Controlling Glass will eventually rely on a mixture of inputs: it’ll recognize voice commands, while also taking cues from the right sidebar. There’s a touch-sensitive pad on there that’ll understand gestures.
- It’s entirely probable that Glass will also be able to be controlled via one’s smartphone, but physical inputs will be the preferred ones.
- Glass has an accelerometer and a gyroscope, enabling wearers to tell Glass what to do by nodding, shaking one’s head, etc. (For what it’s worth, we’ve seen similar demoed by NTT DoCoMo.)
- The internal battery sits just behind the ear on the right side; the capacity and longevity weren’t confirmed, though.
- Glass will be able to record locally, but the idea is to have ‘most everything’ streamed live to the web; it’s the “live, right now!” nature of Glass that Google intends to push as one of its differentiating factors.
- In an area where wireless data isn’t available (like a remote National Park or a hospital room that forbids phone usage), storing video locally would be possible for uploading later.
We also confirmed that the team is playing around with various colors, with orange, white, black and blue editions being sported here at I/O. Whether or not all of those hues make it to market remains to be seen, of course, but we’re adequately jazzed about the possibilities.