Google Glass Partners With ‘Stylish’ Ray-Ban And Oakley
Google has struck a deal with the owner of Ray-Ban and Oakley, Luxottica, to make Google Glass stylish. Will it broaden the product’s appeal?
Google Glass might be thought of as a “geeky” accessory, but it appears the tech giant is working hard to transform its wearable computers into stylish eyewear.
News has emerged that Google is joining forces with Luxottica, the Italian company which owns the high-end Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, which will design, develop and then distribute Glass to what Google must be hoping will be a much wider audience.
Luxottica’s two most popular and well-known brands will be involved in the deal, but no other details have been released as yet so it isn’t clear just how much the agreement is worth to either side. Certainly, in terms of improving sales of one of Google’s pet projects, it is likely the tech giant sees the deal as a worthwhile investment.
One of the biggest problems with marketing the Glass so far has been that the size and style were far less attractive than the wide range of designer frames that can be found in some opticians’ stores.
Compared to the stylish options customers are used to browsing when they buy eyewear in the 21st century, a larger, clunkier and plainer design such as those which have featured in recent product demos and preview materials were always going to be a harder sell to buyers outside of the tech-friendly “early adopters” group.
Oakley in particular seems like a good fit for the Glass. The brand has already made a similar but less advanced product – the Airwave ski goggles that indicate distance, speed and geographical location for outdoor sports fans. Though Ray-Ban doesn’t have a pedigree in wearable tech, it does have a different kind of lineage: it’s the archetypal designer brand with years of heritage, and Google will be hoping that it works wonders for making the Glass cool.
Luxottica, meanwhile, is likely to benefit from becoming the first company to get involved in what could potentially be a high-growth market in the future.
“We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale,” said chief executive Andrea Guerra.
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