updated 11:13 am EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
Low construction cost of Glass units refuted by Google
Google Glass costs less than six percent of the current $1,500 purchase price to acquire the parts for construction, a teardown of the head-mounted device reports. An estimated bill of materials suggests Google pays just $79.78 for the materials of each Glass unit, suggesting Google could easily lower the price of the device before it has a wider public release.
Teardown.com suggests the highest-priced individual component in Glass is the processor at £13.96. Groups of parts classed as non-electric and for connectivity collectively cost $13.63 and $10.79. The display and touch panel costs $3, while the camera, NAND, and SDRAM modules are priced at $5.66, $8.18, and $4.68 respectively. The power management and audio costs an estimated $3.52 to produce, while the 570mAh battery is priced at just $1.14.
Google has been quick to respond to the estimate, claiming to the Wall Street Journal that it is "absolutely wrong," without going into further detail. The estimated pricing doe not take into account the design and assembly costs, as well as the economies of scale, which can easily alter the per-unit cost.
This is not the first time Google Glass has been taken apart, with the final component collection looking remarkably similar to that of the earlier teardown, despite Google having performed some minor revisions to the hardware.
Despite the cost of parts being relatively low, opening the door for a possible lower-priced release, it is ultimately up to Google what it charges, even as it gears up to a general public sale of the unit. After selling Glass to developers for $1,500, and finding high demand when it placed Glass up for a one-day public sale at the same price, Google may opt to keep the cost to customers high to keep user numbers and support costs low, as well as ensuring that only those able to easily afford the device, as well as those more likely to be fans of it, will use Glass publicly.