Google now owns a small portion of Himax, the supplier that makes the tiny display in Google Glass. On Monday, Himax announced the deal with Google buying 6.3 percent of the company’s stock. Google also has a one-year option to purchase more shares at the same price; if it exercises that option in full, Google would own 14.8 percent of the Taiwan-based manufacturer.
TechCrunch spotted the news release and says the company plans to use the added investment to boost production. The display component is key to Google Glass, which puts web searches, notifications and other information on a small screen in the glasses. While the glasses don’t have a dedicated connection to the internet, they can use a smartphone’s mobile broadband radio to send and receive data. An integrated camera is used for capturing video or still images with the device.
Google has said previously that it hopes to bring the Google Glass product to consumers later this year. Currently, the wearable gadget costs $1,500 and is only available to a limited number of consumers that are helping to test the product.
That price won’t fly with consumers, so Google will have to deliver the eyewear at a more reasonable price: ideally around $300, in my opinion, for mainstream people to even consider such a purchase. It’s possible that Google may consider subsidizing the Glass product, taking a small loss on each sale to help lower the purchase price. In return, Google would get valuable information such as user search data and location information.