Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Google Glass halts consumer sales, moves out of research lab

Published:Monday | January 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California:Google said last Thursday it will halt sales of its Glass eyewear, a move that could frustrate fans who bought the quirky head-mounted computer but which the company pitched as a "graduation" of the technology from a research experiment to a product that could be used in factories, hospitals and other workplace environments.

Monday will be the last day anyone can buy the $1,500 gadgets, which arrived on the consumer market less than a year ago but seemed to appeal to a very small demographic of early adopters.

Google Glass will continue to be led by Ivy Ross, a former jewellery designer, but the operation will move out of the secretive Google X research lab where it was developed and fall under the direction of Tony Fadell, cofounder and CEO of the home automation company, Nest Labs, which Google acquired a year ago.

That signalled to some Google's direction towards refining the use of Glass as a product that firms can adapt to specific uses in their workplaces.

"I think the move today reflects its maturity, moving Glass out of skunkworks into product development," said Jon Fisher of CrowdOptic, one of five certified developers that have worked with Glass.

The wearable device championed by Google cofounder Sergey Brin, struggled to gain traction as a consumer item last year and was frequently lampooned for its social awkwardness.

Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to pan the device this week during a visit to South America.

"I think it's pretty easy to imagine that in the future we will have something that we can wear," Zuckerberg said during a question-and-answer session he held in Colombia. "It will look just like normal glasses - it won't look weird like some of the stuff that exists today."