Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell, who is now leading the continued development of Google Glass, has implied that releasing the initial “explorer edition” of the product to the public was a mistake, 9to5Google reports.
Fadell spoke about his choice to take the lead on the product in an interview with the BBC, explaining that he offered to do so because he felt Google Glass could be as important as the iPod or the iPhone, but will take time to get right.
He admitted that while normally Google launches beta versions of its products so that it can gather feedback from users, this may not have been the best strategy when dealing with hardware rather than software.
“If you are only doing services based on electrons, you can iterate quickly, test it, and modify it and get it right. But when you are dealing with actual atoms — hardware — and you have to get manufacturing lines and it takes a year or more to develop that product, you better understand what it is and what it’s trying to do and specifically what it’s not going to do.”
“Customers have to spend money to buy those atoms. They want something that delivers value or you end up with a real disappointment and you can spoil the market.”
Google bought Fadell’s smart thermostat company for $US3.2 billion last year, and the Google Glass team broke from the experimental Google X research lab to report to him in January. A few days later, Google stopped selling the beta “explorer edition” of the wearable to the public, after criticism of its design and the $US1,500 (about £960) price tag. The company still sells the product to businesses.
Astro Teller, head of the Google X research lab, has also said that he believes that the Google Glass team was wrong to let expectations about the product get too big. He said that Google did not do enough to make it clear that the $US1,500 computer mounted to a pair of eyeglasses was just a prototype and not a finished product.
Fadell still described himself as “bullish” about Google Glass, and the wearables market in general.
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