Google May Be Forced To Rethink Google Glass

1/6/14 10:15AM EST

Google May Be Forced To Rethink Google Glass Google May Be Forced To Rethink Google Glass

Image via Joe Seer/Shutterstock

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is probably the most interesting company in the wearable market right now. Though the company isn’t actually offering an ultra-portable device to the public, it is actively and public developing a product. Google appears to be the only company with wearable ambitions beyond the smartwatch, but it may have to rethink those plans as the promise of the product wears thin.

Google Glass was an incredibly exciting device when it was first revealed, though there were a large amount of disadvantages to positioning a display over one’s eye. Those problems are becoming more and more evident, and Google has not managed to find a solution to them. Google Glass may need a rethink before it’s ready for the mainstream.

Google Glass Flop

There is still no telling what would happen if Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) released Google Glass today. The product may see a swathe of early adopters, and it could become the next big thing, but there are huge obstacles. The release of Google Glass Explorer Edition 2.0 shows some of those problems in depth, and the difficulties in getting around them.

The first, and most important, problem for Google glass is the price it will retail at. The Explorer addition costs $1,500. Even if the consumer version retails at closer to $300 it will still be a product for the affluent, particularly since the device is an add-on for a smart phone and does not replace one.

Wealthy people buy expensive products for multiple reasons, and Google Glass appears to fall down on all of them. The major consumption drivers are practicality and conspicuous consumption. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) needs to increase the appeal of Glass in both of these categories in order to ensure success. If it doesn’t Google Glass may be a flash in the pan, and developers spending their time on the platform may be wasting their time.

Google Glass Evolution

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn’t Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The company has not worked with hardware all that often, and it doesn’t seem able to make something beautiful. Google Glass is the stuff of sci-fi fever dreams, it is not a beautiful product to show off to one’s friends. In terms of practicality, there are a limited number of use cases that apply, not many people are going to shell out 300-$500 on a face mounted GPS and text message reader.

Wearables are a new space, and Google is one of the most exciting companies in the space. While everybody else is trying to come up with a smartwatch that makes sense, Google is actually trying something different. With Glass they haven’t yet come to a good place. The product is unlikely to set the world on fire if released in a form resembling its current incarnation.

Google has not revealed a date for the release of Glass, however, and the company could delay it almost indefinitely. Glass could be great, but only if Google makes it a device that people would be proud to wear. The beauty of the iPhone drives sales every year, the hopeless design of glass could ruin the product.

Disclosure: Author represents that he has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article at the time this article was submitted.


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