Google Glass Goes On Sale To All For $1,500 But Hardware Costs Just $150

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Google Glass could get cheap, if the currently pricey Explorer programme shows real demand

Google Glass has gone on sale to anyone in the US while stocks last, but the wearable tech product is still only a beta test version – and a teardown by IHS has revealed that the hardware components only cost $150 (£89).

The search giant has opened the ‘Explorer Program‘ beta test allows anyone in the US with $1,500 (£894) to get their hands on the connected device, which comprises a camera, a postage-stamp sized screen and software, having previously run a restricted beta which opened to all on one day only in April.

Google Glass

Heart of Glass

“We’ve decided to move to a more open beta,” said a Google+ post from the Google Glass team. “We’re still in the Explorer Program while we continue to improve our hardware and software, but starting today anyone in the US can buy the Glass Explorer Edition, as long as we have it on hand.”

Teardown specialist IHS calculated that the digital headset’s components and manufacturing costs only total $152.47 (£90), but pointed out that most of the total sale cost comes from engineering, tooling, design and software development.

Google Glass teardown pie chartThat’s actually an increase on a previous estimate – Teardown.com put the component cost at $79.78, but Google dispute’s both figures, with a spokesman telling the Wall Street Journal: “While we appreciate another attempt to estimate the cost of Glass, the latest one from IHS, like Teardown.com’s, is wildly off. Glass costs significantly more to produce.”

As well as capturing video and handling email, Google Glass provides naviation and driving directions, although in the US several states are making illegal to drive whilst using Glass, and a Glass wearer has been grilled for potential copyright theft for wearing the device to the cinema.

The tech giant is hoping to encourage business use of the device, and a test of Google Glass by Virgin Atlantic staff was recently pronounced a success.

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