Google Glass is due for a significant update to improve its hardware and to add compatibility with prescription frames and designer sunglasses.
Google is also providing early adopters with a one-time free replacement opportunity. The news comes as patent designs from Samsung reveal that the Korean firm is working on its own head-mounted tech.
Glass has undergone significant testing from users signed up to Google's Explorer programme. Enthusiasts and developers who paid $1,500 to be part of the programme will now have the option to receive the updated hardware free, and will also be able to invite up to three of their friends to join the scheme, according to a Google Glass blog post.
Google will begin the upgrade programme in November, with Explorers who signed up before 28 October also eligible. In addition to changes that allow the device to be mounted to third-party frames, Glass now includes a mono earbud (pictured above and below).
Meanwhile, Samsung has reportedly begun development on its own glass-based hardware, with a patent filed in Korea for a headset that connects to a smartphone via micro USB, according to the Wall Street Journal. WSJ also noted that a selected group of users are already testing the device, although no plans for public release have yet been announced.
Samsung and Google appear to be following similar tracks with with wearable technology. Samsung launched its Galaxy Gear smartwatch in October while Google is heavily rumoured to be putting the finishing touches on its own wrist-mounted device.
The consumer excitement surrounding wearable technology has been high, although high prices coupled with short-term appeal and conspicuous design has seen real-world use become slightly more limited. Google Glass in particular has come under fire, with many commentators voicing privacy concerns. The UK's Department for Transport has also ruled out Glass being allowed for use on the road, banning it before it even appeared on British shores.
Apple, meanwhile, is expected to release its own wearable hardware within the next year, with many expecting the firm to unveil a smartwatch device dubbed the iWatch.
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