Published in Mobiles

Google starts selling Google Glass to all

by on14 May 2014

Bill of material stands at $152.47

This might be the moment some proponents of wearables have been waiting for. As of today, you can get yourself Google Glass, as long as you are a US resident or have a shipping address there and a valid credit card. They will be as expensive as they were for the early adopters and will set you back an epic $1,500.

It should be rather simple, you go the Google Glass webpage, make the order and they send them too you right away. Well it’s as easy as that. We tried to make an order and as of 9 AM May 14 2014 Central European Time, or 12.00 AM Pacific standard time it wasn’t available yet. We tried it from the US and Europe and it didn’t work. So despite the news, it is not happened yet, but we guess it’s a temporary glitch.

The Glasshole effect

Google has a freaky video in which it thanks early adopters who were called explorers. The explorers share their stories about how cool they became as soon as they sent a $1,500 cheque to Larry Page.

The reality is somewhat different, as we remember prominent tech firms in Silicon Valley banning Google Glass on their staff meetings, people punching Glass wearers in bars and general discomfort that many Americans expressed over being around people who choose to wear Google Glass. Luckily Americans tend to be very tolerant. They've already learned how to coexist with hipsters and that's not easy.


We tried them and the low resolution display, limited battery life and the obscene price were something that keeps us from endorsing Google Glass. We remember the term ‘glasshole’ that was coined just weeks after Google Glass started to show up on the streets of America and other parts of the world.

90 percent margin on Glass?

Realistically this overpriced device is much cheaper to build than the asking price of $1,500 would have you believe. We have seen reports that Google Glass bill of material (BOM) is as low as $80, research firm IHS has a more realistic number of $152.47. This is almost ten times the BOM (Bill of Material) price. IHS says the BOM stays at $132.47 while the manufacturing adds an additional $20 getting the final price to $152.47.

The single most expensive component is the glass frame at $22 as it's made of titanium and eats up 17 percent of the BOM. The ancient Texas Instrument OMAP 4430 is the brains of the operation and this chip made in 45nm is hardly something to get excited about, especially when most of our phones have 28nm chips and we should see 20nm SoCs shipping before the end of the year.  The SoC used in Glass is two generations behind what you’d get on a mainstream phone and it comes from Texas Instrument, a company that stopped doing a high end SoCs a couple of years ago. They will probably have to change that for the retail product.

One of the most expensive and certainly the most important part of Google Glass is the head-mounted liquid-crystal on silicon (LCOS) projector display. IHS estimates that this tiny low resolution display costs around $20, making up 15 percent of the overall BOM.

Texas Instrument is the winner in this BOM game, or at least it would be if this was a high-volume product. In addition to the venerable OMAP 4430 processor, it supplies the power management IC, audio codec, battery fuel gauge and regulator. Altogether TI gets $37.90 or 29 percent of the BOM, and the number includes the processor. Google Glass has a lot of sensors too, but IHS didn’t go into specifics of what their cost might be.

The question remains why google wants to sell it for $1,500 when the realistic price should be closer to $300. Google was selling them for such a high margin because it could, it wanted to cash as much as it can from these early adopters and the ulterior motive was as the company simply could produce a very limited number of glasses and wanted to limit the number of people who could get them.

We could not agree more with Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, cost benchmarking services for IHS when says that “today’s Google Glass feels like a prototype."

It does. We tried it out and at first it was as exciting as Oculus Rift. You want to try them, but after a few minutes you are done playing and the novelty factor quickly wears off. Google Glass will give you information all the time and it represents the ultimate distraction in our busy, tech laden daily routine. Obviously thousands explorers from the video below disagree with us.


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