Google’s upcoming Google Glass wearable computer headsets reportedly will be assembled in Santa Clara, Calif., by well-known Taiwanese device builder Foxconn to showcase electronics manufacturing capabilities in the United States.
“The decision to manufacture in California will boost President Barack Obama’s drive, set out in his State of the Union address, to ensure the next revolution in manufacturing is ‘Made in America,'” according to a March 27 report by The Financial Times.
Google isn’t the only company that has been making such announcements about bringing manufacturing back to American soil after decades of industry losses to other nations where labor, land and tax costs are much lower. In December, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged to invest $100 million to move the production of one of its Mac lines to America, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
In a related move, Foxconn is also “considering expanding its U.S. operations in response to growing customer demands,” according to The Financial Times report.
Foxconn is known as Hon Hai Precision Industry in Taiwan. The company builds iPhones and many other devices for a host of companies.
“Manufacturing locally will allow Google’s engineers to be closely involved with the production process and provide more opportunities for last-minute fixes and for personal customization,” reported The Financial Times.
When asked about the report via email, a Google spokesman told eWEEK that “we aren’t going to comment on rumor or speculation.”
In a related move, Google has begun notifying applicants who have been selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year.
In February, 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 a part of its continuing development.
“We could never have imagined such an enthusiastic response!” a Google spokesman wrote in a post that began to notify the winners on the project’s Google+ page. “There were so many creative, diverse, and (sometimes) crazy applications. We’ve certainly learned a lot through this whole process, and it’s inspiring to hear how much passion there is for Glass.”
The selected applicants will have to pay $1,500 plus taxes, and will pick up the first-generation “Explorer Edition” devices at special events that will be set up in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the coming months.
“Over the next few days, we’ll be sending out invitations to our Explorer Program through Google+ and Twitter,” the Google+ post stated. “So, keep a lookout for tweets and G+ posts from @projectglass and +Project Glass to see if you’ve been invited.”
Google Glass to Be Built in the United States: Report
So far, Glass has only been available to developers who attended the annual Google I/O Conference in July 2012, where the devices were unveiled officially.
Google Glass is not expected to be available to consumers until 2014, according to the company.
Some of the winning applicants and their proposed projects using Google Glass include:
Aida Malanovich who proposed to use Glass to “capture moments that go by so fast that I wished my eyes were a camera.”
Jerry D., who proposed to use Glass to “record every step my Internet startup is taking on our way to success.”
Jim Pfaff, who said he wanted to use Glass to “experiment as the first Congressional staffer to go live during the day showing more about life on Capitol Hill and in D.C.”
Roselyn Baldevieso, who proposed to use Glass to “take crazy videos at all the music festivals I go to & I would use it to talk to people in their own languages.”
Linda Barlow, who proposed, “So what if I’m in my 7th decade, I’d leap from a plane, land on a roof, zoom on a motorbike, rappel down a wall, and SMILE.”
Shannon Rooney, who wants to use Glass to “travel to Japan and help my Grandma live her dream of going back to her homeland without her leaving the house. #ifihadglass I would meet family for the first time with her by my side and she would be able to experience the activities, sites and sounds of Japan again.”
Some applicants who initially received notes from Google telling them they had been selected for the program later learned that upon further review, their application approvals were actually being revoked.
Among the applicants who were later disqualified was Le Queen, who proposed to use Glass to “throw it at your face,” which Google didn’t think was such a nice idea, upon further review.
“Unfortunately your application didn’t comply with our terms, and has been disqualified,” read the message sent to the applicant after the initial approval. “We’re sorry for the confusion.”