Google Glass Eyes Sky-High Supply: At Least 2 Million Units Annually

Google Glass

Internet giant takes stake in Taiwan's Himax Display, which makes microdisplays for head-mounted devices

Google has taken a stake in Himax Display, which produces microdisplays for head-mounted devices including Google Glass — indicating the Internet giant expects to ramp up production to more than 2 million units per year, according one Wall Street analyst.

Google has agreed to invest in the company, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Himax Technologies, to fund production upgrades, expand capacity and enhance production capabilities for liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) chips and modules used in applications including head-mounted displays like Google Glass. Under the pact, Google will purchase a 6.3% interest in Himax Display, with the option to increase its stake to up to 14.8%.

Google Glass includes has a small screen embedded in the right lens and lets users search the web, watch video, pull up maps, read text messages, take photos, and execute other functions. Some predict head-mounted computing will be a game-changer, while at the same time the Google Glass project has been widely mocked as making users look silly and also has stoked fears about invasions of privacy.

SEE ALSO: Special Report on Google: YouTube, Glass, Fiber & More

The Google investment in Himax Display “signifies that Google intends to prepare for more than 2 million units of annual Glass production,” and that the company’s previous 2 million limit “was not viewed as sufficient to Google,” Mark Gomes of PoisedtoTriple Research wrote in a blog post. He suggested the Taiwan-based manufacturer is boosting production capacity to 7 million LCOS microdisplays annually.

In a statement, Google rep said, “Himax Display has been a great partner for several years now. This investment is an extension of this partnership, which we hope will allow the team to continue to develop their operations.”

Himax said it began expanding LCOS production capacity beginning in the second quarter of 2013. “This investment from Google further validates our commitment to developing breakthrough technologies and state-of-the-art production facilities,”  Himax prexy and CEO Jordan Wu said in announcing the deal. “We look forward to leveraging this investment and our collective expertise with Google to create unique and transformational LCOS technologies for many years ahead.”

Himax Technologies holds 81.5% of Himax Display and will remain the major shareholder after the Google transaction. Other investors in Himax Display include Intel Capital, KPCB Holdings and Khosla Ventures.

Himax said the Google transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Related Stories: Special Report on Google

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  1. James Otis says:

    So many glasses to break, so little time.

  2. James1754 says:

    If you think there are problems with people texting while driving now, wait till these get on the market. Not to mention the problems people will have while walking.
    And, yes I am another one of the people who does not like the idea of being recorded without my knowledge.

  3. Aj says:

    The first person to get in front of me with a pair of those trash on will get them fit much tighter than they were ever intended to be.

  4. Shangeiy L. says:

    Good luck with Google’s Glass. I won’t be using it. Total privacy invasion.
    And how is it interfaced with the web? wifi or bluetooth? nonetheless, the jury is still out whether all these energy fields can be causing cancers. A device stuck right on your face, probably not the best thing for your body.

    • Blue Tooth interface to the internet – are you serious ???

      It might have a Blue tooth interface to another device on your body, and the other device might have an internet interface, but if the device itself connects directly to the Internet it will be via cell phone tower data connection and/or via a local hot spot ( wifi ) connection. My understanding is that you have the choice of either or both of the later two interfaces similar to an I-Pad.

  5. Bruce says:

    I can see these filling a niche for hands-free video or photos, but c’mon: 2,000,000 units a year??

    No.

  6. Chris says:

    Google glass seems to bring out the internet tough guy everywhere, but then, what doesn’t these days.

    The irony of course is that if anyone does punch someone for wearing these near them, then there’ll most likely be video evidence for the assault trial afterward, and it’ll naturally be from the glass itself.

    • Richard C says:

      Provided no permanent debility were inflicted, I for one would not vote to convict anyone punching a Google Glass user of any crime related to said punch, nor would I for destroying the Google Glass, were I on a jury hearing such a case. Also, you discount the ability of jamming technologies to block the upload. Then there are “accidents” … like having heavy objects fall on a Glass surrendered at the door of an establishment that bars them. (“Oh my! Unfortunate, that. You are aware of our ‘at your own risk’ policy, of course. I suggest you leave your next at home.”)

      I really don’t care what excuse anyone has for getting a Google Glass. I will take any and all opportunities to exercise whatever rights I have to make wearing them difficult, uncomfortable, unwelcome or such … legally. I will also encourage everyone I know to do likewise.

      Now, you may wonder why I am so adamantly opposed to these things. For a start, there is no way to prevent facial recognition software being applied to the images taken. If you are unaware of this, you are a fool, or incomprehensibly ignorant. Once criminals start using that software, you and your property will never be safe. Out shopping? People will know, and your home may be empty by the time you get back. Being stalked by a violence-prone ex with some tech savvy? There will be no hiding, no eluding. Stepping into public will be your undoing, and staying home makes you a prisoner. Eventually you have to come out for food, and your secret home will soon be known. You cannot adequately protect yourself from all the criminals who want what you have, while it only takes one criminal paying attention to you to take all you have.

      Few people really understand what can be done with technology, which is why people aren’t as upset about the NSA spying as they should be. Matters are worse than you think, and they will get far worse when Google Glass becomes a pervasive technology.

  7. Dr X says:

    Google glasses are just another symptom of hipster douchebaggery.

    If you wear these you deserve to be punched in your rapidly shrivelling gonads

    • jared turner says:

      man you are stupid.
      worried about your house? quit being cheap and get a security system.
      Worried about being stalked? Lots of camera’s have public access or weak securities so you can be viewed from that anyway.

      You can’t discrimminate against people because they are wearing a “legal” eyepiece.

      “Provided no permanent debility were inflicted, I for one would not vote to convict anyone punching a Google Glass user of any crime related to said punch, nor would I for destroying the Google Glass, were I on a jury hearing such a case”

      That is discrimination, it is still an assualt and should be punished. I bet you dont like anyone that isnt white as well.

      • Richard C says:

        Excuse me, but I am not White. I do, however, work in computer security, having specialized long ago in cryptography. Things are bad now, as far as personal security goes. They will get much worse with ubiquitous use of Google Glass.

  8. GringoB says:

    I need to invent a small device to fry the Google glasses if they look at you.

  9. Deborah says:

    So Goggle can feed our every move directly to NSA. This must be the reason there is no discussion about potential health consequences of wearing this contraption next to our brain 12 hours a day/7 days a week.

  10. A. Dowling says:

    I have been an early adopter of many new technologies. With that being said I will not be adopting this. I will most likely close my gmail account and using and paying for as many Google products as possible. I am asking the local pub I go to to ban this product as being an invasion of privacy. Frankly I do not want my photo taken in a bar and cell phones with cameras are bad enough. If uou love technology as I do and live your privacy as much as I do I encourage you to lobby for privatevspaces where we are technologically free. If you design technology then perhaps you would be interested in creating a wearable technology that prevents random people from taking your picture. It is appalling that our government collects photo data on us without permission or cause let alone random strangers. Part of me wonders how long it will be before we see an upsurge in assaults as people decide they don’t want some rsndom person photographing them.

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  12. darryl says:

    LOL Time for everyone to behave themselves

  13. Joe_D says:

    These glasses will be great. Now instead doing something boring like texting while I drive I can surf the web. I was getting tired of all the privacy I had and it is now nice to know that Google and the government will be able to watch our every move as long as someone with Google Glasses is around. We have the technology soI wonder if Google and the government will be able to turn on the audio and video on the glasses when the unit is turned off….. just think of the boom to the voyeur porn industry. /sarcasm off

  14. QueenWemo says:

    Anyone wearing Google Glass near me is gonna get punched!
    An individual has no ability to “opt out” from random strangers ‘pin-ing’, taking a photo, geo-locating, or generally stalking another person…….therefore I will err on the side of caution and PUNCH ANYONE WEARING G.GLASS NEAR ME!

    • VulpesRex says:

      The nice thing is that you’ll eventually punch a Glass user who is also a concealed-carry holder, and you’ll get to be the next Trayvon Martin.

  15. The Normal-American Community says:

    Take ’em down with a high-power infrared LED lapel pin. Or go low-tech and just zap ’em with a laser.

  16. What will the cost be to consumer?

    • Richard C says:

      The cost to consumers? Anything resembling privacy, for starters. In some states, where it is illegal to record others without their permission, a few thousand dollars for the first offense of doing so is likely, but with repeated infractions, you have to count on some prison time. And, don’t forget the attorneys’ fees, lost wages, fractured relationships (your partners will be able to figure out everything you do, no matter what you tell them), increased auto-insurance premiums (you really want people surfing the Web while they drive?) … and we have no clue about the “unknown unknowns” that will arise. Finally, apart from those areas of “expense,” there are the medical bills from people punching you in the face (or other assorted bodily injury) for wearing them, lost friends, increased mistrust … Need I go on?

      So, what do YOU think it will cost?

      • Richard C says:

        @Dana Cooley,
        You are precisely the kind of person I’m talking about when I say that most people don’t have a clue about what can be done with technology, or how bad the cyber-security situation really is.

        My partner has been hiding from a dangerous ex-husband for years. She has to work at it, darn near constantly. She understands what Google Glass means in terms of personal security. You don’t.

        As for your comment about my “outing” myself on a public forum, again, you are clueless. I have been a target because of what I do professionally for years. Posting to this forum doesn’t make a bit of difference.

      • “your partners will be able to figure out everything you do, no matter what you tell them”
        Sounds to me like you will be experiencing fractured relationships without the help of G. G. You value privacy and yet out yourself in a public forum.

  17. If someone gets in my face with glass they will lose said face.

  18. Rick says:

    Put an earpiece on it functioning as a hearing aid /and or speaker.

  19. LugunaTina says:

    With about one million unit wearers having their heads popped like grapes should a Google wearer inadvertently aim this ridiculous product at them. You think I’m going to allow photo, face recognition and what ever other subliminal information Google is mining for play out? Not.A.Chance. Fair warning. I trust Google has some refund warranty on the device in place. After a few broken noses I don’t think the customer will want the device replaced.

  20. This “invention” is going to be about as life changing as the Segway was.

  21. billmelater1 says:

    Time to carry personal a jammier. Something that can jam internet and phone signals withing 20 to 30 feet. Would be a good counter to this. Gee I think I will work on this. What do you all think?

    • QueenWemo says:

      Check out the site ThinkGeek.com. They provide a cellphone jammer that would probably work the same for G.Glass.
      It is marketed as “disrupting the signal” for (I think) up to 50 yards? I want one just to get cellphone-drivers off the street!

  22. Michele says:

    Too many followers out there and not many leaders. I will sit back and watch all these google glass minions jump over the cliff.

  23. Ben Gauzzi says:

    Wearing the “Glass” is a back-handed way of them telling you that you suck.

  24. MK Smith says:

    I suspect that many google glass wearers will be getting punched in the face. And… there will be many copyright issues.

  25. thinkfirst says:

    anyone taking bets on this absurd prediction?

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