Google Glass evaluated at about $80 in parts – does it really matter?

May 1, 2014
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Teardown.com Teardown.com

Great news for anyone waiting for an official retail release of Google Glass, it shouldn’t cost you $1500. According to a recent teardown, TechInsights says the value of physical parts to build Google Glass is a mere $79.78.

Let us get things straight right away, we’re talking about the cost for the physical parts themselves only. This does not include any building time or materials, design time and certainly covers none of Google’s now 2+ years of R&D on the project. Don’t forget that a working prototype of Glass was kicking around back at Google I/O in 2012.

Cost Chart Google Glass Teardown.com

The Explorer edition of Glass has been available to developers and a very limited set of other select individuals since early 2013 for a whopping $1500. The promise was always that a consumer edition would be made available for roughly the cost of an average smartphone. Interesting enough, that promise was made when the average off-contract smartphone was rather pricier than the Moto G‘s and OnePlus One‘s kicking around today. With an $80 evaluation of parts, consumers can now realistically dream of Glass becoming a truly affordable wearable.

How long until Glass is available?

This is an important topic. What if I were to tell you that Google Glass will never hit the market? Don’t worry, it’s just a question. However, we’re looking at a product that has undergone years of development, yet has not physically changed in the last long, long while. It does frequently receive software updates, which is more than we can say for many smartphones on the market, but remains fragmented from vanilla Android and the new Android Wear.

On the flip side, Google recently opened Glass sales to all US residents for just one day in April. The price remained at $1500, but Google did manage to ship a few units, presumably including the one that was torn down for this report. The $80 evaluation should not be too surprising, considering the required capabilities of the components. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that a Google spokesman has called the cost estimate “absolutely wrong,” with no further comment. We wonder how much that is an attempt to save face for charging $1500 for Glass, and how much it simply reflects that today’s prices for the components are drastically less expensive than they were when Google first purchased them.

What do you think, is Glass a dream project, or will we all be able to buy one for under $300 by the end of the year? How much longer do we wait before too little becomes too late and we all lose interest?

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