Google Glass: Should developers buy a $1,500 deep prototype?

Google Glass: Should developers buy a $1,500 deep prototype?

Summary: Is the $1,500 worth it to be bleeding edge and perhaps a cool kid on the geek block? Probably if you're a developer.


Google developers at the I/O powwow can preorder Google Glass for $1,500, prototype networked specs, complete with a software developer kit.

Google glasses

Google glasses

That news comes as Google had one memorable demo/stunt. Two sky jumpers landed on the roof of the Moscone Center in San Francisco and biked down to the keynote floor. The connection between Google co-founder Sergey Brin on stage and the stunt-men and women was notable.

Google Glass is an effort to make computerized glasses with a touch screen as light as sunglasses. Google employees have been testing the prototypes and running with them to deliver first person experiences to friends. In other words, Google Glass is accelerating the development of what used to be science fiction.

Gallery: Take a peek through Google glasses

Brin added that Google wanted developers to get early access to Google Glasses to help shape the product---and presumably develop apps. He added that Google Glasses are "not a consumer device." Orders will only be taking at the conference. Google Glasses will ship in early 2013.

More: CNET: Google Glass: $1,500, shipping next year | Full coverageGoogle's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: Sign of dev maturity, market share | Techmeme

Is the $1,500 worth it to be bleeding edge and perhaps a cool kid on the geek block?

That's the big question for developers. Assuming you can expense it the Google Glass purchase is a no-brainer. If not, you need to make the following bets:

  • That Google Glasses can be a mass production gadget.
  • There are consumer application dollars in Google Glasses.
  • There are corporate applications that could yield big bucks.
  • There's a intangible value to being bleeding edge.
  • And you'll ultimately be able to monetize apps through Google, its ecosystem and Google Glasses.

Chances are that Google Glasses won't be a mass production gadget anytime soon. Let's assume Google can cut the price of the prototype by half---$750---Google Glasses will still be a hefty chunk of change. At that price---or even $500---Google Glasses will compete with iPads, laptops and every other device. Wallets are only so big.

Those caveats aside the first killer app for Google Glasses, which aim to bridge virtual and real worlds, could be a game changer.

Overall, the $1,500 is a small investment for a potential app home run. But it's easy to spend your money. Would you preorder Google Glasses?

Topics: Apps, Google, Software Development

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  • If I had deep pockets

    From the perspective of being some tech geek without any concern for savings, sure I'd snatch these up in a heartbeat!

    With that said, there is no tangible way in hell I would be picking these up until Christmas 2014, potential price-drops included...
    • The downside is Google, itself

      I can see this as a way for Google to track what it is you're looking at.

      And of course the ads will be displayed right on your glasses...! :)
      William Farrel
      • ads or cash :)

        Somehow you have to survive in a monetary world, sry to tell you that.

        If i have the sense that Google targets me exactly in my real life with customized information on consumer products or whatsoever decisions, i want to have the opportunity of turning that off, either for free, by money or other mutual agreements (beta tests, test studies, hell it will change the way of labor...X )

        " The downside is Google, itself " - is a strong statement you are putting out there. I believe that the surplusses to the american economy trought that technology LEAP are bigger than you believe.

        As long as all participants know where they stand and mutually agree in the use of this technology to whomsoever's benefit, peace.
  • I still think this is really cool, depending on the software

    Augmented Reality is the key. A GPS app that puts a colored overlay on the route you need to drive would be killer. It makes AR actually viable, instead of a gimmick.
  • Huge Potential

    Makes Kinetic look like the steam engine
    Alan Smithie
    • Apples & Oranges

      Oh you silly fanbois. Kinect and these glasses are absolutely in no way similar devices nor will they be competing products. Why does everything have to come down to "Us vs. Them"?
    • Actually no

      Kinect hardware would actually take these glasses to the next level
  • No I would wait until the much cheaper, much better next gen comes out

    the sdk and an emulator should get you all the head start you need to make money building apps for these. Once the second gen comes out these will have been $1500 down the drain for nothing.
    Johnny Vegas
    • one first Emulator

      You can find the first emulator to play with at
  • Really good video conferencing..

    How cool for video conferencing which kind of sucks today..
  • I have wanted a heads-up-display for many years...

    ...With the extras these bring to the table it is a no-brainer, even at $1500. I would certainly wait to find out if they support legacy inputs, and to see if developer interest is there. That will be the proof in the pudding, so to speak...
  • What about people who already wear glasses?

    Will they have to wear their glasses, along with this geeky looking thing? Two sets of "glasses"?

    Also, it's as great an idea as wearing a gold necklace out in public and/or in a crowded area, or in a NYC subway. On your face one second, gone the next. Poof! $800 (or $1500?), disappeared in a flash!
  • No sense buying something unless you're going to do something with it

    I think the premise of the article is a bit off. Google has already released the API and developer guides. There's a lot to read there, and probably a lot of development you could do without needing the actual glasses. So it would be completely crazy to shell out $1,500 just with the thought that sometime you might get around to developing something for it (and maybe you might never get around to it). But if you mastered the API and have developed something awesome and are in the testing phase, then it might make sense.