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Until recently, using Google Glass has meant paying extra for a smartphone tethering plan to give your Glass headset data access. These plans can start at $20 a month and go up from there, adding more cost on to what is already an expensive device. A fix has arrived, though; Engadget is reporting that Google’s latest software update includes a workaround, enabling Glass to pair with your smartphone over Bluetooth. This eliminates the need for a tethering plan.

glass-companionThis new method of sharing data works with the Google Glass Companion app for Android. When Glass is paired with your Android smartphone via Bluetooth, the Companion app acts as a conduit between the smartphone and the Glass headset, passing data back and forth. It’s not unlike the Pebble app for iOS and Android, which operates in a similar way.

The software update, titled XE9, adds many new features to the Google Glass hardware. Interestingly enough, the ability to bypass a smartphone tethering plan doesn’t even make the cut for features that Google mentions in the update. Google may want to see what the carrier reaction is like, though I can’t imagine many would take great offense — the Glass user would likely be the smartphone’s owner, and if that user wasn’t wearing a Glass headset, they’d likely be using their smartphone. No loss or gain.

As Alexis Santos states, we’ll see if carriers are whistling the same tune once Google Glass goes on sale at retail and comes down to a more reasonable price. The wearable technology wave has not likely gone unnoticed by wireless providers who almost certainly want a piece of the action, and if companies are bypassing them with data sharing that can’t be charged for, we may see pressure on companies like Google to push customers back toward tethering plans.

We’ll be watching for a reaction from wireless carriers and we’ll have more if anything develops.


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