Since the announcement of Glass more than two years ago, Google has been coy on announcing many details on consumer availability and general pricing. Instead Google has extended availability of Glass from invite only, to now available to all US residents and more recently to UK residents. But the lack of general availability and high cost of the Glass Explorer unit is apparently turning developers off developing for the platform and a rumour is circulating that the retail launch has been pushed back to next year.
There’s different factors involved here, Twitter recently pulled their official Glass support, leaving users who didn’t have it installed already or new Glass owners unable to access or install it. Reuters has dug a little deeper and found that nine out of sixteen developers working on Glass had stopped developing for Glass, with reasons for halting development given as ‘lack of customers or limitations of the device’. Three developers have stopped work on consumer applications for Glass, instead choosing to pursue business applications after Google recently started the Glass at Work program.
The lack of availability is a major factor with waning interest in Glass, with the familiar ‘Glass Explorer Edition is not available in your country’ meeting most people when they check out Glass on Google Play.
The Glass team at the Google X labs where the headset was developed has recently lost a number of significant members, including lead developer Babak Parviz, who left for Amazon. Electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong also headed off to the current darling of the Virtual Reality development community Occulus, and director of developer relations Ossama Alami has also left Google.
But even with the losses, there’s been gains with former Calvin Klein executive, Ivy Ross now leading up the team. It’s hoped that Ross can improve the design of Glass in order to drum up business for the retail launch, which despite setbacks is still apparently going ahead. Head of Business Operations for Glass, Chris O’Neill said
We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent. We are as committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launch this product until it’s absolutely ready
Sarah Price – Glass Community & Social Media Lead also said on reddit after Twitter announced that they had stopped developing for Glass:
I don’t have any specific news to share just yet but everyone here at Glass HQ is still very excited about the next version and consumer release of Glass.
But even with these assurances, a source familiar with the matter, told Reuters that the consumer launch had been pushed back to 2015. This launch should see a cheaper model than the US$1500 Explorer edition which is currently available.
But. If you absolutely must get your hands on Glass, there’s still ways, if you’re willing to pay. There’s units available on eBay as well as US based, second hand electronics resaler Swappa. You can also usually find a pair or two selling on the /r/glass subreddit. But those purchases are definitely a case of buyer beware.
Until Google actually announces something though, all this remains in the realm of rumour, but we’d definitely love to see Glass on-sale here in Australia, whether it’s as a full consumer launch, or just the Explorer edition.
Would you pay Glass Explorer pricing if it was available in Australia, or are you waiting for a hopefully cheaper consumer launch?