When a Google Glass device is broken down to its essence, the component parts reportedly total about $80, which is far less than the $1,500 list price for one of the early "Explorer" versions of the controversial eyewear-mounted computers. That's the unofficial conclusion of a "teardown," or disassembly of a Glass unit by the Website, Teardown.com, which recently looked at the insides of Glass to see what parts make up the devices.
Teardown.com estimated the component prices at $3 for the display and touch-screen glass on the unit, as well as $1.14 for its battery, according to the report. The built-in camera is valued at $5.66, while the connectivity hardware is listed at an estimated $10.79. The 16GB of Toshiba NAND flash memory is valued at $8.18, while the 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) is estimated at $4.68.
Also included in the parts list is a Texas Instruments OMAP4430 processor at $13.96, Texas Instruments power management and audio components at $3.52, non-electric parts at $13.63, additional parts at $11.32, and supporting materials at $1.75. Assembly and testing is estimated to cost about $2.15, according to the report.
"The information provided in our research leads to measureable results and better decisions about competitive positioning, technology options, R&D strategies and marketplace opportunities," the report stated.
Meanwhile, the site also explained that the estimated prices could be off. "Costing is at time of teardown," the site states. "Glass is an estimate only since the device has not been fully analyzed—final estimate is expected to be different."
In an email reply to an inquiry from eWEEK, Google said that the Teardown.com estimates are wrong.
"While we appreciate Teardown.com's attempt to guess the cost of Glass, their estimate is wildly off," a Google spokesman told eWEEK. "Glass—parts and all—costs significantly more than their estimate."
In April 2014, Google expanded its Glass Explorers program by offering a special one-day opportunity on April 15 for any U.S. resident to buy a Glass device for $1,500, even though it is still not available for retail sales. The one-day sales promotion was unveiled after a rumor about the program began circulating on news sites on the Internet.
Also in April, Google unveiled a new software update for Glass that brought Android KitKat, improved battery life, and myriad other improvements and new features to Glass devices.
Also new to the update is a feature that allows Glass users to more easily organize their photos through Glass using "Photo Bundles," as well as new ways for Glass users to send photos while using Google Hangout messages.
One feature being removed from Glass under the new update was video call capabilities, which have not yet been working as Google expected when they were introduced.
The latest Glass update follows another big update that arrived in November 2013, when Google added improvements that allowed easier setup and new capabilities for Glass users to access their personalized Google Calendar appointments and upcoming events while using Glass.
Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O developers conference—where it was a big hit—to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.
Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.