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Google Glass likely to be priced at US$299: researcher

TAIPEI -- Google Inc.'s eyeglass-shaped mobile computing device will likely be priced at an affordable level when it officially goes on sale, a local researcher at the Topology Research Institute said yesterday.

The Google Glass is expected to carry an initial price tag to consumers of US$299, Topology researcher Jason Tsai told reporters on the sidelines of a local seminar on wearable devices.

The device's display component, which will probably be supplied by Taiwan-based Himax Display Inc., will cost between US$30 and US$35 and will account for the biggest share of the total cost in the near term, he said.

Google announced July 22 that it had agreed to buy a 6.3-percent stake in Himax Display, which produces liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) chips and modules used in devices such as the Google Glass, head-up displays and handheld projectors.

“We believe wearable devices will face the first wave of growth in the coming one to three years due to their innovative features, and will then experience a rapid growth in the next phase when the market becomes more mature,” Tsai said.

According to Topology's projections, the global output value of wearable devices will grow from US$1.2 billion in 2011 to US$18.3 billion in 2018.

Research firm IHS Inc. forecast that shipments of smart glasses might increase by 150 percent to 124,000 units this year, driven mostly by sales to developers. The global market for smart glasses could amount to almost 10 million units from 2012 to 2016.

In April 2012, Google announced a trial project for Google Glass, a cross between a mobile computer and eyeglasses that can record video, access emails and messages, as well as surf the Internet.

The eye glass-shaped device is equipped with a camera capable of taking 5-megapixels pictures or recording 720p video, as well as a 12-gigabyte usable memory and Wi-Fi connectivity, according to Google.

Google began shipping the device in April this year to developers who registered as early backers and paid the US$1,500 price tag, aiming to spur innovations in applications that should take Google Glass from early adopters to the mass market.

The consumer version of Google Glass is expected to go on sale as early as the end of this year, according to local media reports.

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