Glass half full of Christmas cheer

20th Dec 2013 | 13:04

Glass half full of Christmas cheer

Google Glass rivals and what to put on your presents

George Orwell was wrong. The future isn't a boot stamping on a human face forever; it's the human race so engrossed in Facebook that it walks off the end of a pier. Such - ahem - pier pressure will only get worse as computing becomes more pervasive and stuck-to-our-facey, and there's no tech more pervasive and stuck-to-your-facey than Google Glass.

Google's eyewear isn't on sale yet, but its early "Explorer" adopters have been given some new goodies just in time for Christmas. There's a new Upload To YouTube feature, a Weather app, news updates from the Wall Street Journal and Winkfeed, and Google Hangouts. Sadly there's no sign of a pier detector. Maybe next year.

Glass is also becoming more gregarious. This week the MyGlass app came to iOS, enabling iOS users to walk off the end of… OK, OK, we'll stop now. It's not all good, though. The latest Glass updates remove Guest Mode, which will make sharing and showing off the device more difficult.

A different view

Glass isn't the only intelligent eyewear that wants to get in your face. As Matt Swider discovers, there are several Glass rivals around - and some of them are an awful lot cheaper than Google's effort. One of the most interesting is GlassUp, which has an expected price tag of just $299.

Another interesting Glass alternative is Epson's Moverio, which we first saw back in 2011. It's been given a major revamp and rethink since, and it's now aimed at business users. Unlike Glass, it's binocular, enabling users to see in 3D space without interfering with their normal vision.

Maybe that's what Santa wears for a sat-nav system. As you might have noticed, it's nearly Christmas - and that means it's time for our super soaraway Christmas Gift Guide, which covers gifts for every conceivable interest.

Does the guide include tablets? Of course it does, and we reckon tablets of all shapes and sizes will be on many people's wishlists this Christmas. But will you want to kiss a MyTablet under the mistletoe? We think not - and our guide to the very best tablets to put under the tree offers 10 much better alternatives.

Appy Christmas

If you're giving or hoping to get a tablet or a smartphone as a gift, don't forget that the installed apps tend to leave a lot to be desired. Why not bookmark our guides to the best apps so that you can be excited and delighted on Christmas day? We have the 80 best free iPhone games on the planet, the 80 best free iPad games, the 90 best free Android apps, the 90 best free Android games, the best Android camera apps and the best camera apps for iPhone.

Once you've installed all your apps, there's more good news: you can take them travelling. This week BA became the first European airline to approve tech use during take-off and landing. There are conditions - the devices need to be in Airplane Mode or equivalent, so you won't be able to make calls (hurrah!) or use mobile data (boo!) - but it's nice to see air travel finally catching up with the rest of the world.

And that's all for this week. We hope Santa's good to you. Merry Christmas when it comes!

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