Google Glass Now Available to Everyone After Years of Invite-Only Sales

Image: Google Glass Now Available to Everyone After Years of Invite-Only Sales

Thursday, 15 May 2014 02:12 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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Google Glass, the computer that you wear on your face, was made permanently available to anyone with $1,500 this week after two years of invite-only sales to developers and other testers.

The Associated Press reported that the sale of the "device that has sparked intrigue and disdain" comes just one month after Google held its first ever public sale for a single day.

Future plans for the device, including an official timeline or any new versions, are unknown, but will likely be revealed at the company's annual developers' conference this summer. Many expect the tech giant to announce a new version before year's end, and even more hope it will come with a significantly cheaper price tag.

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"Today’s Google Glass feels like a prototype," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS, reported Mashable.com. "The design employs many off-the-shelf components that could be further optimized. If a mass market for the product is established, chipmakers are expected to offer more integrated chipsets specific to the application that will greatly improve all aspects of performance, including processing speed, energy efficiency, weight and size."

IHS recently did a teardown of the device, and estimated that the hardware costs totaled a mere $152.47, with the most expensive components — the frame and the glass display — costing roughly $20 each.

This prompted some outcry over the $1,500 price tag, however Google told The Wall Street Journal that the biggest costs come from nonmaterial expenses, such as non-recurring engineering expenses, tooling costs, and extensive software and platform development.

"While we appreciate another attempt to estimate the cost of Glass, this latest one from IHS, like Teardown.com's, is wildly off," said one Google spokesman. "Glass costs significantly more to produce."

While some states consider banning the devices, which have a built in video camera, from roads and bars, CNet.com also reported this week that the University of California Irvine School of Medicine has purchased Glass for every single one of its students. 

Directors there think the device will help enhance the learning experience in a number of ways, by overlaying graphics, labels, and other data on the user's field of vision while they view real-life anatomy, lab specimens, and more, for example.

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