If you live in the U.S. and you have $1,500 to burn, Google Glass can now be yours.
About a month ago, Google briefly made the device available to anyone in the U.S. for a single day. Yesterday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced that it is putting Google Glass back on sale for an undisclosed amount of time.
"We learned a lot when we opened our site a few weeks ago, so we’ve decided to move to a more open beta," the company wrote in a blog post. "We’re still in the Explorer Program while we continue to improve our hardware and software, but starting today anyone in the U.S. can buy the Glass Explorer Edition, as long as we have it on hand."
Google didn't release the number of units it sold during its one-day sale, but called the response "overwhelming" enough that it almost ran out of inventory.
Still, $1,500 is a lot to spend, especially on a product that's still in beta. Who's going to pony up?
"Very foolish people," says tech analyst Rob Enderle, who predicts that when the finished consumer product is released, it will retail for under $500. "They are paying a premium for an unfinished product."
For early adopters, however, the exclusivity and excitement of a new product may be worth the exorbitant sticker price.
While we won't have a solid estimate of Google Glass's market penetration until a finished consumer version is released, Enderle believes the wearable device is en-route to becoming a mainstream product.
There are significant obstacles it must overcome first, however. The public's desire and acceptance for wearable technology may be growing, but Google Glass raises significant privacy concerns. And as the number of physical attacks against "Explorers" grows, the device is increasingly associated with safety concerns.
"For the most part, folks don't like to be filmed without permission," Enderle says wryly. "So safety problems have come up — particularly in San Francisco — and that's going to have an impact on demand."
A single horror scenario – such as someone getting killed while wearing the device, or a privacy lawsuit – could still kill the product for good, Enderle says. But barring such a major incident, and despite overarching concerns about security and privacy, he believes Google Glass is on track to become commercially successful.
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