Up until April 15, Google Glass was only made available to chosen Explorer wearers who could afford to pay the hefty $1500 fee. However, on April 15, Google opened the Explorer doors to the public, and unsurprisingly ran out of Explorer "seats" in just 12 hours. These consumers also paid $1500 for the specs.
So what if we told you that the total cost of the hardware provided for Google Glass was only $79.78? That's what teardown.com estimates, reporting that the display and glass only cost Google $3.00 and the battery only $1.14. The most expensive component is the Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC, costing Google $13.96, followed by a non-electric component and "other" parts.
In addition to the TI OMAP processor, Google Glass also features a display with a 640 x 360 resolution, a 570 mAh battery, a 5MP camera, 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. Connectivity and sensors include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, an accelerometer, a compass and a gyroscope.
The chart shows that the camera costs Google $5.66, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth $10.79, and the NAND $8.18. The SDRAM only costs $4.68 and the power management/audio costs $3.52. The site points out that the numbers are "an estimate only since the device has not been fully analyzed - final estimate is expected to be different."
The thing to keep in mind is that hardware isn't the only cost. Google has presumably dumped loads of money into research and development at its Google X lab. There's a dedicated team that includes engineers and designers who require a paycheck. Let's not forget branding and the actual manufacturing, which requires Google to assemble a highly sophisticated form factor that presents a tiny screen in front of your eye- (model not included).
So the question is this: Is $1500 too much given the current estimate? A Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the estimate is "absolutely wrong," and declined to provide any additional information.