You may have seen reports indicating that the bill of materials (BOM) associated with Google Glass is a mere $79.78, well short of the $1,500 price tag it costs to join the Explorer program and bring a set home. Sounds like highway robbery, right? Even after factoring in other expenses that have nothing do to with the actual component costs, the markup seems downright obscene. But is it? Google denies its Glass device cost just $80 to make. So how much is it really?
That's a heck of a good question. In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, a Google spokesman said simply the cost estimate floating around the web is "absolutely wrong." Unfortunately, that's all he said -- there was no followup on the actual cost or any hints as to why it's off.
The sub-$80 estimate originates from Teardown.com, which notes that the processor is the most expense part at $13.96. Non-electrical components add another $13.63, followed by a catch-all "other" category accounting for $11.32 and Connectivity tacking on $10.79 to the cost. Every other part in the breakdown comes in at less than $10, according to the teardown analysis.
WSJ says one point of contention could be the display, which is pegged at just $3 (display/touchscreen and glass). Given the device's high resolution and thin profile, it might actually cost much more.