Google has been working with Diane von Furstenberg for a very long time and if you remember, last year, during New York Fashion Week they did a lot with her in and around fashion. So, it comes as little surprise that she would work with Google to spice up their currently incredibly ugly Google Glass. Google has already taken some pretty significant steps in terms of making Google Glass more visually appealing, including their partnership with Luxottica. However, Luxottica is mostly a manufacturer of glasses and still works very close with most of the designer brands in order to ensure that their designs are in line with their brand identity. In fact, there’s a very good chance that almost any designer brand of glasses or sunglasses could immediately become a Google Glass partner if Luxottica and Google deem it a good idea.
So, today Google and Diana von Furstenberg have announced a line of glasses and sunglasses that have Google Glass functionality and look miles better than anything Google currently offers through Glass.
So, as you can see, they’re clearly trying to change the way that we see Google Glass and wear it too. The real question will be how well can they integrate the optical system into future designs and whether or not they can get rid of the unsightly bump of the processor and battery system in the Google Glass itself. Sure, this is a huge improvement over what Google has done but just changing how Google Glass looks won’t make it more successful. It will just make it less repulsive to people around the Google Glass wearer. The real power of Google Glass will come when they’ve got enough developers developing apps for it and when they finally decide to upgrade the hardware beyond its 3+ year old platform with a TI OMAP 4330 processor. If Google upgrades Google Glass to something like a Snapdragon 800, I have a feeling that they’ll be able to really get some serious performance improvements and better battery life. It will also enable them to use much lower power Bluetooth technologies which will also save power as that is one of the biggest drains on the battery life of Google Glass right now.
These new models of Google Glass by DVF are going for an extra premium $1,800 which puts them at a $300 premium on top of the standard Google Glass which sells for $1,500 and we’ve already established is grossly overpriced due to the current BOM which is around $80. So, you’re really really overpaying for Google Glass at $1,800 and Google is sort of admitting that this is no longer a ‘developer’ device by bringing it into a more fashionable form factor. In fact, it might be arguable that at this point Google is just being elitist with the price and only putting it in the hands of those that can afford it. Because let’s be honest, most upstart developers don’t have $1,500 to throw down on a Google Glass without any expectation of selling millions of downloads of their app. That’s what makes the $1,800 price all the more ridiculous, it has just become a more premium version of an already premium product that’s actually running sub-par hardware. Wonderful, isn’t it?
If Google is serious about Google Glass, they need to release it at a consumer-friendly price and push it out to more designers and get app developers excited about it by making it accessible to them.