Google launched an accessory store for Google Glass explorers (the company’s name for the first batch of users to adopt Glass) on Monday.
Although it is currently stocking a sparse inventory, the store is a sign that augmented reality glasses are here to stay, depsite a degree of popular skepticism. Indeed, wearable tech is projected to be a $19-billion industry in 2018. In 2013, wearable tech device sales are expected to be $1.4 billion.
Google has made efforts to up the appeal of Glass for the non-tech obsessed consumer. It partnered with eyewear designers Warby Parker to build the devices. It also partnered with Diane Von Furstenburg to debut the glasses during New York Fashion Week in September 2012. And Google’s flagship phone Nexus 5, which launched today, will happily take a photo or execute other commands as long as they are prefaced by the phrase ‘OK Google’. This is the same phrase that gets Glass ready for action, and it inclusion in the Nexus 5 is no doubt a move made to acclimate smartphone users to smartglasses.
The accessories shop, however, is a step in the other direction. The not-so-subtle earbud currently sold there is reminiscent of a Bluetooth earpiece — originally created in 1994. Furthermore, many were disappointed in the price points (a single earbud costs $50) believing they were indicative of Glass staying at $3000 per user.
The future of wearable looks to include a divide. On one end there will be expensive, intricately designed eyeglasses. The other end will be less expensive smartwatches.