It looks like Google wants to usher its Glass face computer from the domain of the digital elite to less exclusive territory. On Thursday, The Verge posted a document that indicates Google is considering the announcement a one-day expansion of its Explorer program. The plan, it seems, would allow any U.S. resident to purchase Glass--thus significantly changing how the wearable is seeded to would-be users.
The allegedly leaked presentation slide indicates Google would make the announcement on April 15, and the $1500 purchase would include a free frame or shade. In late January, Google announced its Titanium Collection of stylish Glass frames, but the frames have yet to go on sale.
It's important to note the ostensibly leaked Google presentation slide refers to the Explorer edition of Google Glass. So, if the come-one, come-all invitation to U.S. residents bears any fruit, it would involve the same hardware that's currently seeded to app coders and extreme early adopters. It's all part of an alpha program designed to help Google figure out, well, what exactly Glass is useful for--and how crowd-sourced intelligence can make the face computer better.
To date, access to Google Glass has been limited: To score your own specimen, you've had to apply via an online form, be recommended by an existing Explorer program member, or receive an invitation from Google itself. But now it looks like anybody with $1500 will be able to throw down.
So assuming the slide is legit, what's Google's angle? For starters, the company is interested in positioning Glass as accessible, friendly, non-Glassholey technology. This becomes ever more important as Google prepares to release a true consumer version of the face computer, which is planned for sometime this year.
Alternately, Google simply may have a bunch of Glass sitting around, lonely and idle in unopened boxes. There's definitively no lack of interest in Glass, as the technology continues to make headlines--despite the fact it's still alpha hardware and hasn't been officially released.
So why not get Glass on the faces of more people? Check back on April 15 to see if this purported one-day sales event is announced.