If you were planning to buy a pair of Google Glass, but the $1,500 price tag was just too much for you to swallow, fear not, because it looks as if Google Glass will be released to consumers at a much lower price.
After the guys and gals at Catwig performed a teardown of Google Glass, we began to realize that Glass wasn’t stuffed with little magical fairies shoveling coal into a firebox (we hope that no magic fairies were hurt in the making of Glass), but instead we saw that the components were fairly similar to those that we find on a smartphone.
On one side of the Explorer Edition of Glass we find a touchpad, which is used for interaction if you don’t want to use voice control. Beneath the touchpad we find one of the main circuit boards, containing the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, a dual-core TI OMAP4430 CPU, 16GB of Sandisk flash storage, and Elpida mobile DRAM. On the opposite side is the 570mAh battery, which helps balance the device on your head.
In front of the battery pod is a bone conduction speaker, and the main logic board, which holds the display, a 5-megapixel camera and various other sensors. The display has a native resolution of 640 x 360, but Google did say that the display would be “the equivalent of a 25-inch HD screen from eight feet away”.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that these specs aren’t exactly top of the range, you’d be right. But keep in mind that many of these components must be custom-made to fit the unique shape of Glass.
Even then, $1,500 is a lot of money. So why is Google making early adopters pay so much for their Explorer Editions of Google Glass? Well the simple answer is that Google wants the Explorer Editions in the hands of people who are going to offer something to the Glass platform.
Google wants the XE edition of Glass to be in the hands of people who will offer something to the Glass platform.
By pricing an unproven, untested product at such a high price it makes sure that the only people buying Glass are those who are planning to develop for the platform and puts it out of the price range of a casual consumer.
The people with the Explorer Editions of Glass are not regular consumers, they understand that Glass is a budding product, but if a consumer got this version of Glass and were fronted with a fledgling platform they’d be left with a sour taste in their mouths and it could even kill the prospects of Glass at a consumer level before it even had a chance to show off its full potential.
The guys at Forbes compared Glass to a low-end smartphone, giving us a picture of what Google Glass costs to make. A low-end Samsung smartphone costs $85.60 to build and would also have much larger battery. After adding in the cost of the microdisplay (which would cost no more than $30), the fact that some components must be custom made, packaging costs, and that Glass is being made in low volumes, the publication finds $200 as “a safe bet” for production costs.
When Google Glass is eventually launched to consumers, we could see the price fall between $199 and $599. If Google wants Glass to be priced according to its Nexus range, then $199 is not totally out of the question, but something like $349 is much more likely.
What price point do you think Google Glass needs to hit to be a success? Will consumers even want the device?