Here’s how you get the most bang for your buck with Google Glass if you use Windows Phone.
Windows Phone works with Glass for “explorer” & developer scenarios certainly — you can use Glass to understand the UX & opportunity without anything but a Windows Phone, and while the Glass disables directions & SMS in this combination, you can try directions with a temporary no-commitment Android device.
I tested Glass XE11 with a Lumia 920, Windows Phone 8 Update 3 on AT&T. My data plan allows use of Internet Sharing — this is required.
You set up Glass at the MyGlass site on the web.
Glass supports “any Bluetooth-capable phone”… what’s that mean?
Google says Glass is compatible with “Any Bluetooth-capable phone”. Glass can pair to Windows Phone by Bluetooth, so yes, I suppose it’s compatible, but all you get is a fancy voice earpiece out of the deal. Caveat emptor.
But there’s a way to enable more than the voice headset features.
Internet anywhere using Internet Sharing
Glass works quite well with Windows Phone’s Internet Sharing.
You have to toggle Internet Sharing on/off manually* on the phone. But once on, Glass has internet connectivity wherever you go, instead of only at Wi-Fi access points. (To configure a Wi-Fi access point, including the Internet Sharing access point, go to the MyGlass site.)
Internet Sharing stays on permanently in this configuration, which is good (less hand-in-pocket) and bad (it burns my phone battery down 10%-15%/hour even with light use, vs. typical 5%.) So keep an eye on battery, and thank goodness for wireless charging** of phones.
Directions and SMS messaging
Glass doesn’t do GPS and SMS without a device in the picture — “Get Directions” and “Send a Message” are disabled by default. Unfortunately as of XE11 that device has to be an Android device running the MyGlass app.
But the device doesn’t have to be a phone, or replace your Windows Phone. If you have a no-commitment Android device that does GPS (low-end SKU Nexus 7 tablet is what I tried), you can get directions whenever the device is “in your bag” by:
- Bluetooth pairing the tablet to Glass
- Installing & configuring the MyGlass app on the tablet
- (Configure the tablet to connect to your phone’s Internet Sharing while you’re at it.)
SMS is also enabled in this configuration for some reason — I think it’s a bug , as Glass let me send several texts, then told me one of the texts failed delivery… but all failed. Anyone know what’s going on here?
Yes, you can get the best of the HUD and phone worlds!
Still, I’m looking forward to a MyGlass app for Windows Phone*** that enables direction & SMS capability, as my time with the Nexus is coming to an end.
*Has Microsoft shared the protocol used to kick Wi-Fi Internet Sharing on through Bluetooth in Windows Phone 8 Update 3? If so, I’d think Android/Glass could include it, and this would address battery problems on the phone somewhat.
** Glass hardware needs wireless charging. It has a micro USB connector that’s almost certainly going to get broken. I’d forgotten how janky those pins are!
*** @googleglass let me know on Twitter they don’t have anything specific to announce with respect to MyGlass on Windows Phone. Given the state of Bluetooth connectivity & background apps on Windows Phone, it seems unlikely it could happen until Windows Phone 8.1+, never mind Google’s agenda.