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Google to open up Glass program to anyone with $1,500 to spare

Provided you live in the US, that is

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Google has announced that anyone will soon be able to buy one of its Glass headsets for a limited time, provided they live in the US and have $1,500 (plus tax) to pay for them.

Up until now, access to the Glass Explorer program has been restricted. Around 2,000 units were sold to developers who paid up at Google's 2012 I/O developer conference, and since then Google has offered up to 8,000 more units to testers or competition winners, or for use in businesses to test their usefulness in specific industries.

"Our Explorers are moms, bakers, surgeons, rockers, and each new Explorer has brought a new perspective that is making Glass better," said the Glass team on its Google+ page. "But every day we get requests from those of you who haven’t found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too. So in typical Explorer Program fashion, we’re trying something new."

Punters of no particular qualification will be able to purchase a pair of the high-tech specs for the first time on April 15, and will get to choose between a variety of frame styles and colors. Prescription lenses can also be fitted to the headsets for those of us who need them.

Google hasn't said how many units it is opening up for sale at this point, but warns that supplies are limited. This might seem like a marketing gimmick, but Google has been keeping a tight grip on the Glass prototypes ahead of the expected commercial launch this summer, so supplies may be tight.

Google has been keen to point out that the current Glass hardware is still very much in a beta phase and the final commercial product could look very different from the current design. It has also signed up Luxottica, which owns the stylish Ray-Ban and Oakley specs sellers, to help make Glass a bit cooler.

But today's announcement, as well as a program announced on Tuesday to give additional support for businesses to develop for the platform, indicates that we probably won’t see too many changes before the final product hits the shelves. ®

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