Google Glass might not be worth what you think. Recently, it was discovered that it may have been highly overpriced for beta testers. Teardown.com, a website that specializes in taking apart technological products and analyzing the cost of their parts, discovered the combination of parts in Google Glass cost about $79.78 (including a charge for assembly and testing). Beta testers for Google Glass each paid $1,500 to become an “Explorer” of the product. Google argues the estimate is “wildly off”, but will not clarify how far off the estimate is.
The Google Glass features include: Android 4.0.4 Ice cream sandwich operating system, a good screen at 640 x 360, a 570 mah battery life, 5MP camera, also WiFi/Bluetooth, GPS, a accelerometer, compass and gyroscope for the connectivity and sensor system, 16 GB NAND, a 1 GB DDRS SDRAM, and a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor. The most expensive element is the Texas Instruments processor, estimated at about $13.96. There are other costs with these component prices, but still brings the estimate to much less than the beta price tag. Google Glass might not be worth what you think in other ways as well. There have been reports of confrontations and even robberies of the product from beta testers using the device in public, as well as Google Glass being banned in some public places such as movie theaters to prevent the recording of films. Although some actions Glass performs can be done with smartphones as well, the obvious nature of Google Glass is lending to some issues with privacy and first amendment rights.
What is Google Glass exactly? It’s a headset the user would wear like eyeglasses, with a small screen in the upper corner of the frame. It keeps consumers plugged in to email, calls, and other notifications. The idea of Google Glass is actually to make it easier to disengage from the constant use of tech. The wearer can look up instead of down to access information (Glass is designed to be a second screen for a smartphone or other device), and there is the option to look at emails right away, or to wait. Glass has a touch pad on the side which goes over the user’s ear and tap or swipe. There is also a voice command option; the wearer would speak the words “Okay, Glass” before an action to perform, and the user can look up to wake up Google Glass if it has “gone to sleep” from non-use. Glass also has its own App store full of different additions and accessories to help using Google Glass easier.
Since Glass is still in beta testing, there are many bugs and privacy implications. The movements and gestures to use the device can be awkward and some are concerned about being recorded without their knowledge. The Google Glass lens does light up when recording, but it not always easy to recognize if the other person is not looking directly at the user. Google is also encouraging good Google Glass etiquette training for beta users, and encourages the courteous use of their product. Google Glass might not be worth what you think, but it may also have a chance to evolve into something very useful as the revisions are completed.
by Sharon A. Daws