(Forbes) Haydn Shaughnessy, Contributor
It would be rash to say that Google GOOG -1.53% is a laggard with its new heads up display/wearable device, Google Glass, but it is certainly not going to be first to market. And the signs are that its price planning is wide of the mark.
Google’s Explorer edition has cost developers and explorers $1500, setting a strong expectation that the finished product will be expensive and appeal, initially, to an upmarket or geek audience. If that’s the case then Google risks being left behind by an increasingly dynamic market where innovation is on a roll.
Robert Scoble has been writing about a number of alternative products already out there, for example the Smith + Recon Ski Goggle. It provides a slew of information including speed, jump analytics, altitude, distance, location, temperature and much more. The goggle retails at around $650. Oakley have their heads up display Airview Ski Goggles priced at $599. Reconjet, the cycling and runner glasses from the people behind Smith’s goggles, Recon, cost $499, preferred price. They will go up to $599 soon.
But a European product, GlassUp, goes a stage further on price. GlassUp, which is running an IndieGoGo campaign to fund its launch, is based out of Venice, Italy. The company is about to set a new price expectation for wearables.
GlassUp (photo above) will be significantly cheaper than current sports-centric devices from Recon and well below Google Glass Explorer.
When I spoke to Glass Up founder Francesco Giartosio last week he was unequivocal about the price. “We have a problem understanding why Google is so expensive,” he said. “Our bill of costs is around Euro 100 and we will sell at Euro 300 or $399.”
Francesco claims GlassUp provides 150 hours of standby battery life and 8 hours of active usage. More surprisingly, the launch price for IndieGoGo supporters is $299 and the prescription price, $399.
Products coming to market now are exposing some interesting use-cases. As with body wearables, athletic applications appear to be the fastest moving, at least in terms of products launched, with skiing, running and cycling now well served by Recon.
GlassUp is aimed at the same markets but in addition has a broader set of use-cases that include augmented reality information at points of interest, sub-titles in movies, turn-by-turn directions for motor cyclists and cyclists, museum guides and more. Augmented reality appears to have found the perfect outlet in glasses.
ABI research estimate that developers will invest $670 million in augmented reality applications in 2013, rising to $2.5 billion in 2018. It’s not at all clear that this market is waiting for Google, though clearly the search giant has given wearables enormous media impetus. Companies like GlassUp are looking to cash in.
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