Marketers purchasing Google Glass to design, test and build campaigns on the platform might not want to know the real hardware cost to manufacture the gadget. Google sells the wearable device to Glass Explorers for $1,500, but teardown of its components peg the hardware cost at about $80.
The estimate might raise a few eyebrows, but the costs for components do not factor in research and development, marketing, advertising, completive intelligence, as well as costs related to employee salaries. It does include assembly and testing.
A contract manufacturer in California assembles Google Glass, where labor is much more expensive than China, Japan, India or Vietnam, where most electronics companies have mobile devices built.
A teardown bill of materials tells us the Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich runs Google Glass, along with a 570 mAh battery. It sports a 5MP camera, connects through WiFi/Bluetooth, GPS, Accelerometer, Compass, and Gyroscope, and runs a 16GB DDR2 SDRAM processors from Texas Instruments.
For geeky marketers that want to know what manufacturers build into devices that attract consumers most, the site published by Techinsights also provides teardowns on other gadgets like the Samsun Galaxy Tab 3, Apple MacBook Air 11, and other gadgets. The company plans to update the Google Glass teardown soon.
Wearable technology and augmented reality have existed for decades, although they were not available to the general public. The tech industry needed to find a way to monetize the gadgets and build services on top of the software that runs them.
Steve Mann has been wearing "computerized eyewear" for 35 years. He originally began experimenting with the technology to improve vision for those who cannot see well, and soon realized that the "future of computing was as much about communications between people wearing computers as it was about performing colossal calculations."