A complete teardown of Google Glass, Google's $1,500 wearable computer, conducted earlier this month reveals that the price of the components adds up to just $152.47.
The teardown, performed by IHS, found that the most expensive part of the Glass is its frame, which the company priced at $22.
"Today’s Google Glass feels like a prototype," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS, in a statement. "The design employs many off-the-shelf components that could be further optimized. If a mass market for the product is established, chipmakers are expected to offer more integrated chipsets specific to the application that will greatly improve all aspects of performance, including processing speed, energy efficiency, weight and size."
The second-most expensive component of Glass, according to IHS, is its square lens, made by Taiwan’s Himax Technologies, at a cost of $20.
A similar teardown of the device was conducted in April by Teardown.com, which came up with a figure of $79.78 for the total cost of the device's components, a figure Google disputed.
"While we appreciate Teardown.com's attempt to guess the cost of Glass, their estimate is wildly off," a spokesperson from Google told the website eWEEK, earlier this month. "Glass — parts and all — costs significantly more than their estimate."
IHS Technology's estimate isn't likely to quell the chatter around the high price of Google GlassIHS Technology's estimate isn't likely to quell the chatter around the high price of Google Glass — a product the company says is still in beta testing — versus the cost to construct it.
But despite the wide margin between what IHS claims is Google's cost to build Glass and its price, the research company indicates that the device is worth more than the sum of its parts.
“[T]he vast majority of its cost is tied up in non-material costs that include non-recurring engineering (NRE) expenses, extensive software and platform development, as well as tooling costs and other upfront outlays," says Rassweiler. "When you buy Google Glass for $1,500, you are getting far, far more than just $152.47 in parts and manufacturing.”
I refuse to believe Google Glass only costs $150 to make. That's insane— Stephen Shiflett (@stephenshiflett) May 14, 2014
google glass only cost $150 to make? somebody hook up the wholesale price— Musical Excellence (@ImTiME) May 14, 2014
This timing of this reveal of the new Google Glass teardown could turn out to be significant, as Google announced on Tuesday that it has decided to make the previously invitation-only wearable computing device available to all consumers without an invite.
Now, empowered with the knowledge that Glass costs around $150 to build, some fans of the device might think twice before parting with their $1,500.