You had to be a US resident to sign up for the Google Glass Explorer competition, and now it looks as though it could be quite a while before Google's sci-fi headgear is spotted outside US soil, because the headsets will reportedly be American-made, too.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the Chocolate Factory is working with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industries – Foxconn, to you – to build the first batch of the devices in a facility in Santa Clara, California.
That would put the plant within a 15–20 minute drive from Google's Mountain View headquarters, which will surely be a boon for Sergey Brin and the other engineers overseeing the project as they work to iron out any last-minute wrinkles.
It also makes Google the second Silicon Valley tech titan to launch new manufacturing efforts on American shores in recent months. In December, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Cupertino planned to invest more than $100m to shift Mac manufacturing back to the US.
That news came just one month after rumors emerged from Taiwanese sources that Foxconn was planning to increase its own presence in the US – but that any new facilities would be unlikely to be used to build Apple products, because that kind of manufacturing was too complicated to be done Stateside.
Foxconn denied those rumors, saying it had no plans to build any additional factories on US soil. It did note, however, that it already had "multiple facilities based in the US." One of these, as it turns out, is located in Santa Clara.
The Times reports that many of the components that will go into the Glass headsets will be sourced from Asia, but final assembly will be done in the US. Just how much that could drive up costs compared to cheaper offshore manufacturing is not clear – but with an announced list price of up to $1,500 per headset, there would seem to be plenty of wiggle room.
How big the initial run of Glass headsets will be is unknown, as is when mass production is scheduled to begin – if indeed it has not started already.
On Wednesday, Google announced via Google+ that it had selected 8,000 winners of the Glass Explorer contest. Although it did not say when the actual headsets would be available, Google is widely believed to be planning to have them ready for its annual I/O developer conference, which takes place in San Francisco in May.
Google declined to comment on the report. ®