Google Glass just got a little cooler today with the announcement of new frames and lenses for Google’s first wearable device. The Glass website has been updated to show off the four new titanium frames and two new sunglass visors, which Explorers will be able to purchase later today in the Glass Store.
In addition to the $1,500 (USD) cost for Glass itself the prescription frames are expected to retail for $225 (USD). The four lightweight titanium frames range in style from thinner frames called Split and Thin to a more shapely and stronger look in the Bold and Curve styles.
Google has also added two new twist-on sunglass shades. The two polarized, impact-resistant lenses options, Edge and Classic, are from sunglass boutiques Maui Jim and Zeal Optics. The new shades are in addition to the Active shade which comes in the box when you purchase Glass.
Frames and lenses have been rumoured to be coming for Glass ever since the release of the second iteration of the hardware back in November of last year. Explorers will need the revised hardware in order to support the new frames.
Glass has constantly been scrutinized for its aesthetic, mostly by outsiders and not Explorers, so this update to Glass will go a long way to making them more palatable for the mainstream. But more importantly, Google is solving a big problem for Explorers who usually wear prescription lenses. The titanium frames will support both prescription and non-prescription lenses and those with vision insurance (such as VSP in the States), may even be able to claim the purchase of their new frames.
According to an earlier report from CNET, the new frames will only work with prescriptions within the +4 or -4 range and bifocals and trifocals will depend on the optometrist’s recommendation. Google has worked with 200 optometrists in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York but are expected to have up to 6,000 doctors trained and support in other cities by the end of the year.
With over 180 million Americans using some form of corrective lenses and over 200 million wearing non-prescription sunglasses, Google is tapping into a very healthy market opportunity with the introduction of new frames. As well, adding vision correction to the device furthers Glass’ value and helps to really make this wearable an everyday life device.
It definitely does seems as though Google is putting the pieces together to make Glass a much more realistic purchase for the everyday consumer and not just the early adopter. Google hinted that the new frames and sunglass attachments are “only the beginning” so we may be hearing more news before the rumored consumer release later this year.