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Google Glass Parts May Cost Around $80

By - Source: TechInsights | B 17 comments

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.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    john675 , May 2, 2014 4:47 PM
    Manufacturing costs are nothing compared to the cost of R&D.
  • 13 Hide
    Stimpack , May 2, 2014 3:46 PM
    I have this half-eaten sandwich, any takers? $1,200? $1,100?
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    tomrippity02 , May 2, 2014 3:45 PM
    The product should be sold for exactly what people are willing to pay for it, regardless of cost of manufacture or BoM.

    This is not a product that people need to live and the price is being jacked up, this a fun product that a company designed and if they think people are willing to pay 1500 for it, that is what they should charge. I seriously doubt most people produce something on their own and think what is the minimum amount they could charge and still turn a profit... they think what is the maximum profit that they can make.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    Stimpack , May 2, 2014 3:46 PM
    I have this half-eaten sandwich, any takers? $1,200? $1,100?
  • 16 Hide
    john675 , May 2, 2014 4:47 PM
    Manufacturing costs are nothing compared to the cost of R&D.
  • 7 Hide
    Akshat great , May 2, 2014 6:03 PM
    Maybe after 1 or 2 year it will cost $200 or less with high specifications
  • 6 Hide
    joaompp , May 2, 2014 6:57 PM
    The reason it costs $1500 is because Google doesn't want everyone to have it in its current form, its very much a beta product and by having that huge $1500 entry barrier ensures that the people who do purchase the device will actually use it and provide useful feedback. It's actually a very smart move. Instead of a costly closed beta with little to no real world use, they're doing an open world beta and are not even paying for it. Plus, in the long run, it'll level out the hype cycle of this particular technology and reach the plateau of productivity sooner.
  • -9 Hide
    WhyFi , May 2, 2014 7:31 PM
    Quote:
    The product should be sold for exactly what people are willing to pay for it, regardless of cost of manufacture or BoM.

    This is not a product that people need to live and the price is being jacked up, this a fun product that a company designed and if they think people are willing to pay 1500 for it, that is what they should charge. I seriously doubt most people produce something on their own and think what is the minimum amount they could charge and still turn a profit... they think what is the maximum profit that they can make.


    I take it that you haven't made it to Econ 101 yet?
  • 0 Hide
    Shankovich , May 2, 2014 8:59 PM
    Even though I still very much disagree with the price of the final product, remember that the cost also covers R&D.
  • 3 Hide
    Lord Darren , May 2, 2014 11:57 PM
    Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
    - Publilius Syrus
  • -8 Hide
    Doug Lord , May 3, 2014 8:14 AM
    It's not even worth $89. If you paid me $89, I still wouldn't wear it. Maybe if you paid me $1,500 I'd wear it for a few days.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 4, 2014 4:34 PM
    A large chunk of the R&D is common across all Android platforms, another large chunk of the R&D will carry over to future product lines, some of it on the software side may get back-ported to past product lines, etc. so a huge chunk of the R&D costs can be amortized on a pretty broad time frame spanning past, present and future well beyond a single product line.

    The $1500 price tag on Glass only makes sense if Glass was intended to be a one-shot thing with no future or "only for the rich kids" item. At this point, Google Glass is still little more than a concept field-test with only a few thousand devices in the wild. A mass-produced run (millions of units without Google's currently abusive restrictions on Glass) would be much cheaper.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , May 4, 2014 4:51 PM
    Quote:
    ..only 1800% markup...lmao

    You have the device-specific R&D costs, assembly line tooling costs for the PCBs, the device as a whole and possibly individual mechanical/electrical sub-assemblies, assembly costs, shipping costs, QA, logistics, support and other costs to add on.

    Since Glass is currently still a low-volume product, I'm guessing a lot of the assembly is still being done by hand on a prototype-like basis because the production volume does not justify spending millions on automated production and testing tooling.
  • 1 Hide
    daekar , May 4, 2014 9:08 PM
    It's worth $1500 to some people. It's not worth $80 to me, because I would never use it. I suspect final prices will be $300ish, but I have nothing to back that hunch up.
  • 1 Hide
    ihog , May 5, 2014 3:35 AM
    Quote:
    ..only 1800% markup...lmao


    Did you just not read the article at all?
  • 2 Hide
    tomrippity02 , May 5, 2014 6:17 AM
    Quote:

    I take it that you haven't made it to Econ 101 yet?


    Good point! Glad your cleared that up.... :-/

    What did I say that Econ 101 would disagree with? My two main points are that 1.) They should sell it for what people are willing to pay for it.. which apparently plenty of people are willing to pay the 1500 for now. At least the people that they want owning it (developers, testers, etc) and 2.) People are out to make as much profit as possible, not as little profit as they can make to get by.

    Everything you buy each day is marked at the maximum price that people are willing to pay and continue purchasing. If McDonalds could sell their value meals for 20 dollars and people would keep coming back, they would. They can't because of competition. In the case of Glass, there is no competition to make them sell it for less. If someone comes out with a similar satisfying product for half the price, I'm sure Google will respond accordingly.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 5, 2014 9:14 AM
    Quote:
    In the case of Glass, there is no competition to make them sell it for less. If someone comes out with a similar satisfying product for half the price, I'm sure Google will respond accordingly.

    There are plenty of Glass competitors on their way and most of them are aimed under $500. IIRC, the real retail Glass is aimed under $500 as well.

    The reason Google can "sell" Glass Explorer for $1500 is simply because they are not really trying to sell it in the first place: they are merely extending their closed beta to people with deep enough pockets to pay the bail: if you do anything with your Glass Explorer that Google does not approve, they reserve the right to permanently disable it without compensation, which probably explains why almost no Glasses reviews show anything worth looking at.

    At this stage, Glass and Glass-like devices are still at the proof-of-concept stage, trying to find which problems they might be a solution to much like smart watches. For most people, Glass' current implementation is currently useless and makes people look retarded or like they are having an epileptic episode when trying to use it stand-alone. some people even say Glass users in action are similar to people with annoyingly loud earbuds, just 10X worse. Much like smart watches, Glasses still has a long way to go before it is ready for prime-time.

    Since Google got a patent for head-mounted eye-tracking cameras (obvious patents strike again - the only reason it was not done sooner is lack of sufficient head-mountable computing power), the first real retail version of Glasses will most likely include eye-tracking input to replace all the awkward gestures, touch and voice input.

    Gotta love spending $1500 on early-access when you know the final product will likely be a completely different thing.
  • 0 Hide
    tomrippity02 , May 5, 2014 2:55 PM
    Quote:

    There are plenty of Glass competitors on their way and most of them are aimed under $500. IIRC, the real retail Glass is aimed under $500 as well.


    Ah, but they aren't here yet. And as you mentioned, they aren't priced for general public consumption at the moment.

    I don't think you have to worry about it being a "completely different thing" from what is out right now. The glasses may look different and have additional functionality/ other features, but software that is developed for the current version should work on any future version as well, which is what the beta developers should be focused on...

    Unless by "different thing" you are talking about the software being so different that any beta applications simply don't work, which I doubt will happen.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 5, 2014 5:51 PM
    Quote:
    Unless by "different thing" you are talking about the software being so different that any beta applications simply don't work, which I doubt will happen.

    Between seemingly neck-breaking unnatural head gestures (I hope the "reviews" I have seen were exaggerating), indiscreet voice commands (everything has to begin with "ok glass" which people can use as a cue to shout their own command if they want to annoy you since the voice recognition software does not appear to be able to tell voices apart) and "point-and-blink" input methods, which one would you prefer?

    I am pretty much certain I would prefer eye-tracking for speed, accuracy, convenience, versatility, intuitiveness, discretion/privacty and just about all other metrics I can think of for primary input except for dictation (assuming I have a relatively quiet and private space to use that in) and maybe augmented reality navigation to some extent where head gestures would likely get used for coarse navigation and point-and-blink for details. I imagine eye-tracking would supersede all other Glass input methods almost immediately as the preferred input method - it is the most natural method I can think of for hands-free interaction with a HMD-GUI.

    So, what I expect to happen is early developers will spend tons of time, effort and money developing head gestures and voice commands for Glass Explorer out of necessity since the prototypes lack the necessary camera but after Glass and equivalents come out with eye-tracking, most people will end up flocking to eye-tracking for primary input and voice commands or gestures for device wake-up and application launch shortcuts out of necessity to conserve battery power - keep the camera and image processor powered down between uses since image processing may have become cheaper but it is still nowhere near cheap enough to do continuously from standby.

    Sure, software for the old Glass will most likely work with "New Glass" but how long do you think "New Glass" owners will remain interested in "Old Glass" antics? Ergo, "Old Glass" and its applications getting superseded and most of that development time going down the drain unless I am wrong about eye-tracking being vastly superior in most cases. (Apart from the energy cost of course.)