It was a big week for Google Glass, with the controversial wearable grabbing headlines for a host of developments aimed at promoting its wider adoption.
The "smart glasses" became available to the public again on Tuesday after selling out in a one-day sale last month, on Friday Google brought on a new Glass marketing chief with a heavy fashion and retail background, and there were several other announcements in-between. Here's a roundup of the notable Glass news that hit this week.
Google Glass Goes Public Again
Google made Glass available to the public again on Tuesday, after selling out in its one-day sale April 15, which was the first time the general public could buy it. The Google Glass model currently for sale is the “Explorer” test version, first introduced in February 2013. Some believe Google is trying to clear its inventory of test models to make room for the actual consumer version. Google Glass currently sells for $1,500 and is available for purchase online. Prior to the initial sale in April, Glass could be purchased only by invitation from the Google Glass Explorer Program.
Teardown Details Glass Production Costs
Now that Google Glass is more readily available, more consumers want to know just what they're paying for. The Teardown Analysis Service at IHS Technology compiled a report detailing the actual cost of Google Glass, which it released on Tuesday. According to the teardown report, the components on Google Glass cost $132.47 and manufacturing costs $20, making the total cost of Google Glass $152.47. Glass currently sells for $1,500, which is nearly 10 times as much as the bill of materials proposed by IHS Technology. Google told Computer World that this and many other estimations of the value of Google Glass are “wildly off,” adding that “Glass costs significantly more to produce.” It's the Explorer version of Glass that costs $1,500. Once the wearable is available in a consumer version, it's expected to be priced not much different from the average smartphone, so we're talking between $400 and $650, the price of an off-contract smartphone.
UC Irvine Med Students Get Glass
The School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, is now offering its students use of Glass as part of their four-year curriculum. UC Irvine is the first medical school to fully incorporate Google Glass into its curriculum. According to CNET, first- and second-year students will use Google Glass during their anatomy and clinical skills courses and third- and fourth-year students will use Google Glass during their hospital rotations. The biggest benefit of Google Glass for doctors is the ability to nod their head or blink their eye to access real-time information, which they would otherwise have to access through paper files, on a computer or a tablet. UC Irvine has also tested Google Glass in operating rooms, intensive-care units and the emergency department, which it says has been helpful.
Glass Makes A Push Around Travel
Google made Foursquare, TripIt and OpenTable available as Glassware apps for Google Glass as of Friday. The Glassware apps for Foursquare and OpenTable reportedly function by voice-command, finding local spots in your general vicinity and scheduling local reservations respectively. The Glassware app for TripIt allows Google Glass users to easily access their travel itineraries, hands-free if needed.
Google Glass Gets New Department Head
Google announced on Friday that marketing executive Ivy Ross will be the new head of Google Glass, effective Monday. Formerly the chief marketing officer for Art.com, Ross has an extensive background in fashion and design, having held high-level marketing positions at companies such as Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb and Gap. Many believe Google has brought Ross on to revive the image of Google Glass, which has been lackluster in the face of public concerns about privacy and the gadget's wearability. News broke the same day that the former head of Google Glass, lead electrical engineer Adrian Wong, has departed in favor for a position with Oculus, creators of the Oculus Rift VR headset, a competitor to Google Glass.