Google Glass is a wearable computer that’s only available to a select group of people right now — and folks that get invited to join the Glass Explorer program still have to pay $1500 for the privilege of wearing a camera, head-up display, and Android device on their face.
But researcher Jason Tsai suggests that when Google Glass is ready to go public it could sell for closer to $299, although Yahoo news has sources saying it’ll cost more than that — possibly as much as an unsubsidized smartphone, which could put it in the $500 to $600 range.
That estimate seems pretty reasonable when you look at the components used to actually produce a Google Glass device. It’s likely that the reasons Explorer edition devices cost so much are that they’re being produced in limited quantities, and Google wants to keep the number of users low in order to prevent casual users from buying a pre-release product, deciding it stinks, and spreading the word.
In other words, Google wanted to start testing Glass in the real world by giving people who don’t work for the company a chance to use it and start developing software for the platform. But if it started selling Glass for $299 today, it’d probably go the way of the Microsoft Surface RT as people decide there’s not enough you can do with the product to justify even that price tag.
Developers and enthusiasts willing to spend $1500 are less likely to jump to that conclusion. And they’ll help make sure that when the product is ready for its public launch, there are enough apps and services available to keep early customers happy.
Even at $299, Google Glass could be a tough sell in countries like the US where people tend to think of smartphones as devices that cost $199 or less (even though customers generally sign long-term service plans that require them to pay hundreds of additional dollars for that phone over the course of a contract).
But if Google can sell Glass for $299, it’s not inconceivable that we could see wireless carriers offer the wearable computer for even less money (up front) to customers willing to add an extra $10 per month to their data plan until the cost is paid off.
Keep in mind — Google hasn’t said how much it expects to charge for Glass. Right now we’re still talking about an estimate from an industry analyst. It’s making news because it seems plausible, and because $299 sounds a lot better than $1500.
via Phone Arena