Google isn’t giving up on Glass, but the tech giant said it would stop selling the first iteration of the pricey wearable until the next version is ready.
While the $1,500 price tag hindered widespread acceptance of the high-profile gadget, many early adopters also complained about aesthetics as well as short battery life and inferior sound quality.
Google’s Explorer Program, introduced in 2013 so select consumers could purchase and test Glass, will be shuttered after Monday. The team that works on Glass will also undergo some restructuring, according to Google. Going forward, Glass will be a standalone unit, instead of a project working from the Google X Research Lab. Nest Labs chief executive officer Tony Fadell will now spearhead all things Glass, with Glass chief Ivy Ross and her team now reporting to the Nest executive (Glass is still part of Google and not part of Nest).
Google declined to comment, but said over e-mail that they remain committed to Glass.
It was thought that the fashion industry would be among the first to accept Glass with open arms — its introduction to the public did took place on Diane von Furstenberg’s runway in 2012 (with Google co-founder Sergey Brin sitting front and center). Two years later, the fashion brand collaborated with its eyewear licensee Marchon and Google on a series of frames designed for wear with Glass. The line of optical and sunglass frames, DVF Made for Glass, hit Net-a-Porter in June of last year.
Isabelle Olsson, Google’s lead designer for Glass, was instrumental in Glass’ range of optical frames that came out early last year — and was hopeful that titanium styles such as an oval, subtle cat-eye shape would appeal to women and the fashion set.
But despite the range of trend-driven optical and sun eyewear that Google developed to make using Glass appear more natural, consumers failed to bite. The company is still hopeful and said in a blog post that a next generation of Glass would launch when it’s ready.