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Google upgrades Glass hardware with prescription models, allows explorers to invite more friends

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Google Glass (STOCK)
Google Glass (STOCK)

Production of Google Glass has accelerated recently, according to the Financial Times. Citing people familiar with the company's plans, the report says this "substantial" boost in manufacturing will allow Google to release "tens of thousands" more Glass units over the coming months. The wearable device isn't expected to reach consumers until sometime in 2014, though Google may be planning to dispatch more Glass units in another wave of its Explorer program.

Curiously, the Financial Times report says that existing Glass owners "will be able to invite a limited number of friends to buy the device," but Google already launched an invite system three months ago allowing Explorer participants to do just that. Still, the company may choose to dole out additional invites to further diversify its Glass test audience ahead of any consumer rollout. Exactly how Google plans to handle the mainstream launch of Glass remains unknown. Reports over the last few days have claimed that a large structure floating in the San Francisco Bay could serve as some sort of public showcase for the device.

Update: Shortly after the Financial Times published its report, Google has now largely confirmed the story. The company is indeed expanding its invite system so that Explorers can invite up to three friends to join the program, though Glass' current $1,500 asking price remains unchanged.

In addition, Google has announced that it's made some hardware tweaks to Glass that will allow it to support "future lines" of shades and prescription frames. Explorers that purchased a device before October 28th, 2013 will be granted a one-time swap for the upgraded hardware, which will also include a mono earbud. You can also take advantage of this opportunity to change the color of your device if you've grown tired of the hue you originally chose. Google says it will be reaching out to eligible Explorers with more details soon.