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Google Focusing on Prescription Glass

Google Focusing on Prescription Glass
January 28, 2014 11:37AM

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With the prescription models of Glass, Google is addressing two big complaints. First, people with prescriptions couldn't use Google Glass. Now they can. Second, Glass didn't look "normal" enough for most people. That's been addressed to some degree with the new frames selection, said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.

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Tech giant Google is bringing more clarity to its Glass vision -- literally. The company has announced the soon-to-be available prescription models of Google Glass through its Titanium Collection.

Google Glass is a wearable technology that comes in the form of an optical head-mounted display. Google hopes to mass market the product, though it’s been slow moving through the development phases and has met with criticism from privacy advocates.

Google announced plans for the prescription version of its cutting-edge wearable technology nearly a year ago. The idea is to serve those who want Google Glass but can’t tap into the trendy tech because they already have four eyes in the form of traditional glasses.

“If we had a nickel for every time someone has asked about prescription lenses for Glass . . . well, we’d have a lot of nickels,” said the Google Glass team in a Google+ post. “So we want you to be the first to know that the Titanium Collection is here, with a handful of new styles for Glass so you can make it your own.”

Four Models to Choose From

When first announced, Google said the Glass design was modular, and promised consumers they would soon be able to add frames and lenses that match their prescriptions. Google is now making good on that promise with its new line.

“Whether you wear prescription glasses or just want a new look, we’ve got four feather-light titanium frames designed just for you. And if you need prescription lenses and have vision insurance (such as VSP), your policy might even help cover your new frames,” the company said. “Explorers can access the Titanium Collection tomorrow afternoon, along with two new styles of twist-on shades.”

Google went on to say that “this is only the beginning” but did not hint at what might come down the pike next. Lower prices would be welcome. Currently, the glasses cost $1,500 even in beta. That means you’ll pay a hefty price if you can even get your hands on a pair. According to Google, the cost for the frames is $225 on top of the $1,500. The two new models of sunglasses cost an additional $150 each.

Consumers have to sign up on the Google Glass Web site for the opportunity to get into the buyer’s pool for the new prescription models. "This marks the next phase in the evolution of Glass as we move towards a wider consumer launch later in 2014," Google said on its Glass FAQ page. Addressing Three Complaints

We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on the prescription Glass. He told us Google is addressing two big complaints -- and really three -- with this new release.

“First, people with prescriptions couldn't use them. Now they can. Glass also didn't look ‘normal’ enough for most people. That's been addressed to some degree with the new frames selection,” Sterling said.

“The third problem, affordability, is also being tackled through insurance coverage. It's still not a mainstream product but these new features and changes will certainly bring more of the ‘Glass curious’ into the fold,” he added.

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