Google Glass Halts Consumer Sales, Moves Out of Research Lab

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (San Jose Mercury News/TNS) -

Google said Thursday it will halt sales of its Glass eyewear, a move that could frustrate fans who bought the quirky head-mounted computer but which the company pitched as a “graduation” of the technology from a research experiment to a product that could be used in factories, hospitals and other workplace environments.

Monday will be the last day anyone can buy the $1,500 gadgets, which arrived on the consumer market less than a year ago but seemed to appeal to a very small demographic of early adopters.

Google Glass will continue to be led by Ivy Ross, a former jewelry designer, but the operation will move out of the secretive Google X research lab, where it was developed, and fall under the direction of Tony Fadell, co-founder and CEO of the home-automation company Nest Labs, which Google acquired a year ago.

That signaled to some Google’s direction toward refining the use of Glass as a product that firms can adapt to specific uses in their workplaces.

“I think the move today reflects its maturity, moving Glass out of skunkworks into product development,” said Jon Fisher of CrowdOptic, one of five certified developers that have worked with Glass.

The wearable device struggled to gain traction as a consumer item last year and was frequently lampooned for its social awkwardness.