Google Glass will be released next year to the public


Consumers hoping to buy a set of Google’s Glass networked spectacles will have to wait until 2014, according to Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

The first wave of Explorer Edition Glass headsets, began shipping to developers this week, but for those who missed out on the hardware’s initial run, it looks like patience will be a virtue.

In an interview with an international channel this weekend, Schmidt said Google will probably be making some changes to the Explorer Edition before a final consumer release goes ahead in early 2014.

“Well, the developers are beginning now. It would be fair to say that there will be thousands of these in use by developers over the next months and based on their feedback we’ll make some product changes and it’s probably a year-ish away,” he said.

The time frame leaves some wiggle room on the final release date, but it suggests a generally-available version of the product will not be ready for consumers by the end of 2013, as Google had previously indicated.

Indeed, it appears to be closer to the time frame Google co-founder Sergey Brin set when he first demonstrated Glass being used to capture a skydive in June 2012. At the time, Brin said he hoped to release the Explorer Edition in early 2013 and have a broad consumer offering available within a year from that point.

Schmidt did not discuss price for any general-release edition of Glass, although it’s likely to cost less than the $1500 price tag on the Explorer Edition.

Google reportedly assembled the Explorer Edition at a Foxconn factory in California and, besides developers, it has only made Glass available to 8,000 competition winners in the US. However, it’s not clear whether production will remain in the US in the longer term. Google was aiming for a consumer price range of $200 to $600, according to an international newspaper, meaning a move to a lower-cost production center is likely.

Asked about privacy implications of wearable technology, Schmidt said society will need to develop new social etiquette to accommodate it, similar to the way it has set rules for the appropriate usage of smartphones.

“In general, these kinds of body wearable devices will bring in a whole bunch of such concerns and the fact of the matter is we’ll have to develop some new social etiquette. It’s obviously not appropriate to wear these glasses in situations where recording is not correct. And indeed you have already these sorts of problems with phones”.

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