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

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

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?

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