Google‘s high-tech glasses will be manufactured in California, according to multiple reports, in the latest example of an American tech company choosing to build one of its products in the United States. Google’s highly touted computerized spectacles, known as Google Glass, will be assembled by Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwanese industrial giant that builds many of Apple‘s products, at a plant in Santa Clara, California, according to reports in the Financial Times and Bloomberg.
Google’s decision comes just months after Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to spend $100 million to build one of the existing Mac lines in the U.S. Apple’s plans were highlighted by President Obama during his 2013 State of the Union address. Obama has called for tech companies to increase U.S.-based manufacturing, and although there are signs of an uptick, there remains considerable debate about whether this is a long-term trend or a short-term byproduct of the U.S. economic recovery.
Foxconn, which already operates plants in Texas and Indiana through a subsidiary, has said it wants to increase its operations in the U.S. in response to the growing appetite for “Made in the USA” products. “We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there,” a Foxconn spokesman told Bloomberg recently.
Google has been heavily promoting its high-tech specs as the next generation of mobile computing. Google Glass, which is being developed by the company’s secretive Google X lab, is connected to the Internet and features a camera and specialized software. The device projects a small display in front of the user’s right eye containing search results and other data.
Last summer, Google co-founder Sergey Brin showed off the eyewear during an impressive demonstration featuring skydivers, mountain bikers, and rappellers. Since then, the eyeglasses have popped up on fashion runways and even the New York City subway. Asked about the reports that Google Glass will be assembled in the U.S., a spokesman told TIME that the company “does not comment on rumor and speculation.”
After last summer’s demonstration, Brin told Bloomberg that Google X is “about doing brand-new, risky technological things — making science fiction real,” he said. “We’re not thinking about other, existing products on the market today. We’re trying to do risky things that may or may not work out, but it’s got to be something really bold.” Other Google X projects include the company’s self-driving cars.
This week, Google announced plans to invite 8,000 users to test Google Glass, which have already been available to developers for $1,500, and are expected to hit stores later this year or early next year. The device is the most high-profile example of the latest Silicon Valley trend: wearable computing. For its part, Apple is rumored to be developing a computerized watch product, but unlike Google Glass, no one has seen the device in public.
“Glass isn’t the sort of technology you can develop in a conference room — we really need people to take it out into the world and see what they’d like to do with it across a wide range of hobbies, lifestyles, and environments,” a Google spokesman said in an emailed statement.
Google is riding high at the moment. Over the past several months, Google shares have increased by nearly 20% — recently topping $800 — while Apple shares have fallen by more than 30%. Google continues to report solid growth thanks to its dominant search engine and online advertising business. Last quarter, net income increased 13% on revenue of $14.42 billion, a 36% increase over one year ago.
“Google is getting a lot of attention and a lot of kudos for taking risks and trying something new,” Scott Kessler, head of technology research at S&P Capital IQ, told TIME last month. Check out this video of last summer’s Google Glass demo: