Google's willingness to trash Glass for the sake of fashion might not be as insane as we previously thought. Because according to an estimate yesterday from Teardown.com, the actual parts going into the $1500 (£900) faceputer only add up to a measly £50 -- though of course Google is now contesting this.
It's important to note, of course, that this was just an estimate—more specifically, one that Google is vehemently denying. A Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that Teardown's estimate was "absolutely wrong," although he provided no further comment.
And while Teardown.com is quick to acknowledge that its conclusion is based purely on estimates (which can be seen in detail below and at Teardown.com here), even if the site is off by a few hundred quid, that still makes the final product cost only a third if its retail value to actually produce.
There's obviously much more that goes into a product than its individual parts. Research, development, and the technique necessary to actually put the thing together all take a considerable amount of skill that's extremely difficult to quantify. Compared to past estimates of the iPhone 5's combined material cost, which was estimated to be about £5 more than even the retail value, it seems that Google isn't just building in profit, but tonnes of it.
When we reached out to a Google spokesperson for comment, we received the following reply:
"The estimate is wrong. The Glass Explorer Edition costs significantly more to produce than what this company is estimating."