Google Glass Available for Purchase April 15 in Special One-Day Event

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-04-10 Print this article Print

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 conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development, where it was the hit of the conference. 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.

In February 2013, Google expanded its nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become part of its continuing development. In March, Google also began notifying a pool of applicants who were selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year by consumers. Those selected applicants have been receiving their units in waves.

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.

In March 2014, Google went on the defensive a bit about Glass and worked to improve public perceptions of the device by releasing a list of the Top 10 Google Glass Myths. Glass devices have received some serious criticism while being used in public, including outright bans in some bars, restaurants and other businesses, as well as privacy concerns from some people who just don't like the idea of Glass wearers recording them or viewing them using the devices.

At the same time, Google Glass is also gaining some acceptance in the marketplace, even before its official launch to consumers. In January 2014, Google announced a deal with eyewear and vision insurer VSP Global that will cover a portion of Google Glass frames and prescription lenses for its insurance customers.

Two months later, in March, VSP began getting a new facility in Maryland ready to make the lenses and assemble the units once Glass goes on sale to consumers.

So far, early Glass Explorer testers are able to choose from only four frames available for purchase, including curved, thin, split and bold frames, according to Google. All four available models are displayed on the Glass Website. Attachable sun shades are also available in several styles for purchase under that program. The frames cost $225, while the shades sell for $150, according to Google. Users will have to check with VSP to find out how much of the fees are reimbursable under their vision plans.

Also in March, Google announced that it was partnering with eyeglass frame vendor The Luxottica Group to someday offer trendy frames from famous makers such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue-Eyewear and Alain Mikli as Glass units get closer to rumored retail production. Those plans give future Glass owners more fashion possibilities as more frames that work with Glass are developed.

The partnership is just getting under way, and it will likely be some time before additional Glass fashion frames are available for sale, according to Google. That means that Glass users won't be able to find Oakley or Ray-Ban frames and sunglasses right away, but that they will be in the pipeline.


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