Jan 28 - Google's new styles and its deal with VSP, the largest optical health insurer in the U.S. paves the way to put the cutting edge wearable technology into the hands of millions. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Google Glass is getting a makeover for the masses. At least that is the hope with their new expanded styles and deal with VSP-the largest optical health insurance provider in the U.S. Consumers can get prescription lenses specifically fitted to the device. Mashable's Lance Ulanoff: SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A lot of people have vision insurance with this company, so this is the kind of first broadening of the Google Glass program, and it has to potentially make it cooler with one caveat- I don't know if they are going to get cheaper yet, and unless they get cheaper, they are $1500 to start, and then there is the cost of the prescription lenses. A ton of people aren't going to go just marching in to get Google Glass, so that is the kind of hump they still have to get over." In fact even though VSP's website is already promoting the venture- buyers still have to be part of that Google Explorer program. But Google says prices will be lower when the consumer version goes on sale to the general public towards the end of this year. Google's website promoted four different frames, in styles including "Bold" and "Curve", available for $225 each, and a couple of different sunglass shades for $150 each. Google Glass has garnered a lot of attention- even making appearances on the fashion runway. The stamp size electronic screen mounted on the side of a pair of eyeglass frames can record video, access email, and connect to users' cell phones. Ulanoff says even if they are more broadly accessible- their use will still be limited at this time. SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You are going to wear them when it's appropriate. Say you are going on an exciting trip and you want to give your friends a first person view of what it's like to climb up this mountain or to see Disney World for the first time through your eyes, that is what you can do with this. But like sunglasses there are going to be times when it's not appropriate to wear them. So even though you can get prescription glasses with these I imagine that you will still have another pair of prescription glasses that don't have Google Glass on them." He adds that concerns remain- including many about privacy and how the devices are used.