Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Google may manufacture Glass in the US

Google Glass
According to a new report, Google will be manufacturing its upcoming Glass headsets in the US. This is a radical departure from the way most consumer electronics are produced in sprawling facilities in mainland China. The search giant apparently believes the initial Glass rollout will have several features that make sense for domestic production, but this might be contributing to the high price tag.
The last product Google attempted to make in the good ol’ USA was the Nexus Q, a product that received so little interest Google killed it before the official release. One of the issues cited in the Q’s demise was the abnormally high price, which was partially due to the decision to manufacture in the US.
Google Glass is believed to be going into production at a Santa Clara, California Foxconn plant. Foxconn is the same company running the Chinese facilities that make devices for Google, Apple, and others. The main reason domestic manufacturing could work for Glass is that the first production run will be small, on the order of a few thousand devices. That would be a fairly small order to submit to a factory in China.
The decision to make Glass in the US might also be less of a convenience, and more of a necessity. Glass is a first of its kind consumer product. A remote factory might have no problem churning out thousands upon thousands of smartphones, which are all remarkably similar to one another. However, Glass is a complicated product that Google will want to keep a close eye on. What better way than to produce it in the company’s backyard?
Google Glass was offered to attendees of Google I/O last year via the Explorers program (they still don’t have units though), and more recently to regular folks that participated in the #ifihadglass contest. Those lucky enough to get on the list for Google Glass will have to pay $1500 for the prototype unit, which is expected to be delivered in the coming months.

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