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Google Glass Explorers get to swap for new (equally awkward) devices

The new version of Google Glass will come with an optional earbud.Google

Early adopters of Google Glass, also known as Explorers, will soon be able to trade in their "old" hardware for a new and improved version with an earbud and the potential to install prescription lenses. And if they have any friends looking to join the Glass army, they can now invite a few.

The Glass team posted the news on Google+ Monday, and followed up with more details Tuesday. Anyone who bought Glass before Oct. 28 will be eligible to swap their first-generation hardware with a new headset that offers a couple minor improvements.

An earbud is now available that plugs into the charge port and lets users hear audio without using the built-in bone-conduction technology. This will be helpful to those for whom bone conduction is uncomfortable or impossible due to disabilities or other factors.

Glasses-wearing Explorers will be happy to hear that the new version supports prescription frames; people buying the new version (once it launches) will be able to choose between a number of styles.

Lastly, in true Google style, the lucky early adopters will soon be able to invite up to three of their friends to try out Glass. Of course, those friends will still need to pay $1500 for the hardware, so it's kind of an invite to empty your wallet — but there's no shortage of people who want to try out Glass, so no doubt these invites will be a hot commodity over the next few weeks.

Specifics on dates for invites and trade-ins will be announced soon; keep an eye on Glass's Google+ page.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is