Google has closed down the “Basecamps” that it had set up New York, San Francisco and London to get customers to try on its enhanced-reality Google Glasses, arguing that most inquiries have been coming through its website and its Play Store. However, observers believe that Google is giving up on the original technology and looking for less intrusive and less expensive smart eyewear solutions.
Between 30,000 and 50,000 pairs of Goggle glasses have already been sold, mostly in the U.S., but some celebrities have stopped wearing them in public and their price on eBay has dropped by about 50 percent. More importantly, the number of related new or improved applications has dropped dramatically. This follows a ban on the use of Glass in the U.S. while driving a car or in cinemas and other public places in the name of safety, privacy and intellectual property protection.
The most optimistic prediction is that the future applications that will be developed for Google and other suppliers of smart glasses will be B2B for the most part. They will likely be aimed at a more limited number of users, mostly professionals, and for specific tasks where they will provide an effective return on the investment.
More than ten new types of smart glasses have been launched in 2014, and their total sales are expected to reach one million pairs next year, according to a new study by AugmentedReality.org. Companies will be the main first adopters, with shipments set to rise to more than 50 million pairs by 2018. Consumers will pick up then and take the total volume toward one billion units near the end of the decade. With the market become more consistent, a number of mergers and acquisitions could start taking place from 2016.