Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Partnership with vision insurer VSP brings Google Glass plans into focus

The expected prescription frame version of Google Glass has become a reality, the company announced on Monday (via the New York Times). Not only that, the rumored partnership with vision insurance provider VSP has come into focus, as well.

Assuming you can get into the Google Glass Explorer program -- which is still the first hurdle -- the second hurdle is ponying up $1,500 for the still-nascent device. For those who need prescription frames, they are $225 on top of the already pricey smartglasses.

These frames are more fashionable than before, with four titanium frame styles -- Bold, Curve, Thin, and Split -- and two new tinted shade styles -- Classic and Edge -- added to the mix. The tinted shades are priced at $150.

Steve Lee, Glass' product director, said that the styles are based on "existing popular trends in the eye care industry." Including the original frame and shade, Google Glass owners will be able to select from up to 40 combinations of colors, frames, and shades.
We think they'll accommodate most people's tastes. Anybody who is familiar with the process of getting [an eyeglasses] prescription filled will be familiar with how you get prescription Glass.
The agreement with VSP could mean access to Glass for more Americans, although anyone who has used VSP to get prescription glasses will now that it doesn't cover "that much" in terms of a frame's cost. Still, it is something.

In addition, these "normal-looking frames" could mean less run-ins with the law -- such as when a Google Glass wearer was interrogated by DHS when he wore them to a film. It could also mean less questions by passersby, and the ability to get into places that might otherwise ban the device over privacy concerns.

Lee added,
What I’ve noticed in public is I get less interaction with people” when wearing Glass with frames. It’s something society’s more accustomed to.
This is all on top of the fact that -- finally -- people who wear glasses can use Google Glass.

In addition to subsidizing part of the cost of Google Glass prescription frames, VSP said that it is working with doctors to ensure that people who own Google Glass will be properly fitted for its use with their eyes and frames.

It's expected that Google will expand Google Glass past the Explorer program in late 2014.

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