The booming wearable technology market lost one of its biggest players earlier this month, as Google shelved sales of its Glass eyewear less than a year after it launched in the UK.
As one of the world’s highest-profile wearable tech products, the decision will come as a blow to stockists, including Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter. The designer etailers were the first third-party stockists to tap into demand for wearable technology by selling Glass at a price of £1,250 in September 2014. The Net-a-Porter Group declined to comment on Google’s move.
In the week before sales of the technology stopped on January 19, Tesco launched a shopping app for Google Glass, which allows users to add items to online baskets, scan barcodes and view product information. A spokeswoman for Tesco could not confirm whether the app would be pulled, but said it would continue to “trial new technology, including wearable technology”.
The move came as no surprise to technology experts, who raised legal issues posed by the device, which allows wearers to take pictures, record hands-free video, make calls and view maps via an optical head-mounted display.
Mark Weston, partner at law firm Matthew Arnold & Baldwin, highlighted the barriers Glass faced, such as bans in restaurants, hospitals and when driving, but said the main legal concern came from others not being able to know when the device was recording video, an issue which could have been solved by adding a red light to the product.
Google has committed itself to “future versions of Glass”, telling followers on its Google+ page to look out for “what’s coming next”, without providing a timeline.
A statement said the Glass development team would continue to operate under current manager Ivy Ross, who has held a string of fashion roles, including president of men’s accessories at Calvin Klein and vice president of design and development at Coach.