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A Tesla App for Google Glass in Less Than Four Days: A Developer's Take on the Tech Giant's Newest Gadget


Plus, buying Glass when it officially launches may not break the bank after all.

On July 1, a self-proclaimed aspiring tech evangelist from California released Glass Tesla, an application for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass that allows Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S drivers to control and analyze their vehicles.

Sahas Katta's app can manage the climate of the Model S, lock and unlock doors, open the sunroof, locate and track the vehicle, start and stop charging, and display gas mileage.

There were 62 users of Glass Tesla as of July 11, and Katta, 24, tells Minyanville that several Google execs are taking advantage of his latest project.

Take a look at the app in action and you'll understand why Google's higher-ups are keeping an eye on the young developer:

In the video, Katta refers to his app as a weekend project, but in fairness, it was more like a long weekend.

"I had an opportunity to get my hands on Google Glass about two months ago and happened to know someone who had a Tesla Model S. The idea popped into my head over a month ago. I finally got around to building the app. It took about three and a half days," Katta told Minyanville via email.

Speedy craftsmanship aside, the benefits of such an application are immediately apparent.

On a hot or cold day, app users can can start adjusting the car's temperature long before even reaching for the keys. Doors mistakenly left unlocked will be a thing of the past. Forgetting where the car is parked and worrying over teens arriving safely at their destination will happen no more. Additionally, Katta notes that drivers can use Glass Tesla to find the cheapest times to charge their cars. Since charging costs differ throughout the day, careful management could result in savings on energy costs.

It should be noted that Tesla offers a very similar app for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Android devices, though the Android model is in beta. This, of course, raises the question, what, if any, advantages does Glass offer that smartphones can't?

"I'm very much convinced that driving with Glass is significantly safer than touching a smartphone," says Katta, "You can reply with your voice without having to lift a finger. You'll never have to take your hands off the wheel, move your head, or take your eyes off the road."

The question of safety when driving with Glass is still up for debate. For now it remains legal, but last month West Virginia Legislature Republican Gary G. Howell proposed a bill to ban the use of Google's eyewear while driving.

When not at the wheel, however, Glass still offers users the ability to keep an eye on a primary task at hand, rather than a hold a device in their hands.

Katta says there are nearly 100 apps already available for Glass and he expects several hundred to be available at launch. Glass's app offerings will be far more robust at launch than that of Apple's iPhone, as Apple lacked an App Store until the launch of the second-gen iPhone 3G in 2008. Google Glass may be made available at a somewhat reasonable price, no less.

"The price is likely going to be under $500 from what I hear," says Katta, and almost every analyst agrees that the retail price of Glass will fall under the $1,500 price tag on the beta version, though few specific estimates are available. (One group has suggested a price tag of $299.) Adds Katta, "Just imagine being able to go about your everyday life with access to unlimited information without ever having to fully divert your attention for simple tasks."
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