Google Glass goes on sale – again (+video)

The nascent, and still controversial, Google Glass device has been released for sale to the public, after a one-day sale a few weeks ago.

By , Staff Writer

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    Developer Maximiliano Firtman wears the prototype device Google Glass before a news conference ahead of the 2013 RigaComm event in Riga in this file photo taken November 4, 2013.
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Did you miss the one-day sale window for Google Glass a few weeks ago?

Good news if you have a spare $1,500 and are interested in the latest wearable tech: Google is once again selling Google Glass to the public. However, this time around it is available for an undetermined amount of time. Though the device remains in its testing, or “explorer,” phase, this does indicate that Google is inching Glass to mass-market. Now the question is: will it sell?

The Google Glass available for purchase is an updated version of the device with a small computer just above the top right eye and the option for five different frames. Wearers tap the side of the device in order to control features such as maps, e-mail, Twitter, video, photo, and other applications that have been continuously developed over the past year by Google’s fleet of early Glass adopters, nicknamed “Explorers.”

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For this round of the sale, Google is including the titanium frame options as well as sunglass shade clip-ons from Maui Jim or Zeal Optics for free along with the device. Ordinarily, both options are an additional cost. Ray-Ban and Oakley’s parent company has also signed on with Google Glass to create upcoming designs in order to make the device a bit more stylish, and less noticeable when in public. Recently, a major insurance company said it would cover prescription lenses for Glass.

That being said, $1,500 is still a hefty chunk of change for a pair of glasses, even if it does include a computer. Analyst firm IHS technology recently estimated that the cost to make Glass is only about $150. The significant mark-up is to pay for engineering, design, and research needed to invent the device in the first place, as well as marketing.

Google has not yet released sales numbers for its one-day sale last month, nor has it mentioned whether the price will drop with upcoming models. The company did say more than 10,000 pairs were sold to engineers, developers, and other early adopters through its Explorer program. Secondhand Glass is available on eBay and Craigslist at a discounted price.

This move seems to indicate that Google is growing more comfortable with its product reaching a wider consumer base. Recent rumors seem to point to an updated version of Glass and potential mass-market release before the end of the year, which could be a risky move for the nascent technology. Though Glass has made headlines frequently over the past year, it isn’t often for good news. Glass Explorers have been accused of traffic violations, movie piracy, and photographing without consent, which has led to assaults, muggings, and court hearings. Even if Google decides the tech is ready to hit the streets, it remains to be seen how the rest of the world will react.

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