Feeds

Google Glass teardown puts rock-bottom price on hardware

Google objects to notion that $1500 headset only costs $80 to make

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A teardown report on Google Glass is raising eyebrows over suggestions that the augmented reality headset costs as little as $80 to produce.

Researchers with the TechInsights' teardown.com service placed the bill of materials (BOM) of the device at a mere $79.78. The report, which considers the cost of components ranging from processor and battery to non-electric structural pieces, estimates that no part of a Glass headset costs the company more than $14.

Thus far, Google has limited the Glass headset to tightly-controlled demo programs and a one-day sale which require users to cough up $1,500 to get their hands on the headset.

The claim has been met with some skepticism, as reports have suggested that teardown.com's analysts have underestimated the cost of key components such as optical hardware and chip pricing. Google, meanwhile, has limited its thoughts on the matter to a blanket statement saying that the teardown.com estimate was "absolutely wrong," and "the Glass Explorer Edition costs significantly more to produce."

Joel Martin, general manager for the teardown.com service, told The Reg that while the report was an early estimate and subject to change, he believes that even with further analysis and information the cost of hardware for Glass will be found at less than $100.

He noted that the company's estimates of hardware prices call on hundreds of teardown reports of the same components in other mobile systems. Martin objects to the suggestions that the company has wildly underestimated the cost of key pieces such as optics.

"I've seen reports that state it is like 30 to 40 dollars," Martin said of the Glass display eyepiece.

"There is no way it is that high, we are talking about something that is within five to $12 at the most."

Furthermore, Martin points out that his company is only estimating the cost of the hardware and assembly for Glass, not trying to put a price tag on the up-front costs Google has incurred for the extensive research and development required to bring Glass to this point.

The takeaway here could be less about suggestions of gouging on Glass prices (which, to be clear, teardown.com has at no point made) than the possibility that the retail versions of the headset will be significantly more affordable and accessible than the limited "Explorer" hardware has been thus far.

The Chocolate Factory has yet to reveal what consumer editions of Glass would sell for, and Martin noted that as the company moves forward with manufacturing partners to ramp up production, a low hardware overhead would let Google offer an affordable Glass unit and still make a tidy profit both for itself and partners.

Whether a lower price tag would change the perception of Glass as a creepy spy device have yet to be seen, but it would at least challenge the notion that it's just for techie elitists.®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.