According to a recent Gartner report, the wearable market – including Android Wear devices – is expected to amass some sizable sales figures this year; an 18.4% increase. This is, in part, thanks to the growing number of OEMs that are creating products, and even some “less tech-traditional” companies who know a lot about making watches, but are not mainstays in the traditional tech industry. Still, Google Glass is in some ways, the “original wearable” in Google’s stable.
After it was all but discontinued last year, the expensive and occasionally controversial product was allegedly re-branded as Project Aura. Last the public heard, the division, led by Nest’s Tony Fadell, was planning to make a device more suited to enterprise users, and toying around with many different concepts, some of which may not even contain a display. Fast forward to today, when this appears:
First spotted by 9to5Google, the device pictured is currently listed on eBay with no reserve price, under the inconspicuous and unassuming auction title, “Google Glass (Black).” The item description is equally devoid of details, basically mentioning that the product is “very gently used” and “in working condition.”
The Verge apparently contacted the seller and reported that,
It’s unknown how this particular Glass headset — which is likely an internal unit for testing — made it into a pawn shop’s hands. A representative for A to Z Pawnbrokers, which has multiple locations around the San Francisco Bay Area, confirmed that it was selling the headset on eBay, but could not provide information on where it came from.
When the story was first reported by 9to5Google, the auction was going for “around $700” however as of the time this story was published, the auction price has jumped to $1,575. There are currently over 3 days remaining until the end of the auction, though this may change should someone make a private offer to the seller, or Google itself shuts down the situation.
What’s the big difference?
For those who are unfamiliar with the Google Glass hardware, the item being auctioned might not immediately stand out as being unique in any way. Indeed it looks like just another pair of Mountain View’s wearable headset. It is only when taking a closer look that the tantalizing details begin to emerge:
- The device has a foldable hinge.
- There is a proprietary power and data port instead of a micro USB port.
Some may recall that a device that looked exactly like this was discovered last December in a filing with the FCC. Rumors that had emerged last summer also make reference to a few additional points – though it is unknown as to if this prototype does indeed include any or all of them. Specifically, the Enterprise Edition of Glass is said to:
- Have a larger prism display.
- Have an LED indicator to signify when the camera is recording.
- Have a more power-efficient CPU, longer battery life, and 5GHz Wi-Fi support.
- Have a more sturdy construction and be water resistant.
Until the auction has ended and the device is in some lucky – and presumably not financially frugal – person’s hands, it is doubtful that anything more than what is already known or rumored can be verified.
While this may not be enough to earn an X-File classification, it’s unlikely that even Mulder or Scully could determine the origins of this mystery: just where did this prototype come from? Given the fact that devices like these have made major news stories – who doesn’t remember the infamous iPhone 4 bar scandal – it seems curious that the owner would sell the product to a pawn shop.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that regardless of who the original owner was – be it a Google employee or some enterprise user who was testing it – they would presumably be aware of the fact that unreleased products are quite valuable. Given that this is Google Glass, its backstory presumably differs from the typical “it was tucked away in a box in the attic” type discovery.
Given that Craigslist is another prime place for prototype products – a 3G Macbook for example – the most logical conclusion that one might reach is that either the original owner did try to sell it previously and no one wanted it, or else, for whatever reason – perhaps to protect their identity – they sold it to a pawn shop.
It is unlikely this prototype’s past will be laid bare for the tech world to witness, though fortunately it seems at least the product itself can be purchased.
Now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag, one might begin to ask when Google will formally announce this product. While it’s possible that the Enterprise Edition of Glass will never see a formal release, the fact that the FCC has already seen it would suggest that the gears are in motion. Likewise, it has almost been a full year since the original Google Glass’ sales period ended, and thus Google seemingly needs to announce the replacement soon less the world will move on and forget about the product that created the word, “Glasshole.”
What about you?! Would you love to get your hands on this Glass Enterprise Edition prototype? How much would you be willing to pay? How do you think this product found its way to a pawn shop? Make sure drop your two cents in the comments section, and let us know how many dollars you expect the sale to end at!