Milan—Last week, Google posted a tip that it would be entering the smartwatch market with its own Android Wear operating system—a new platform that has the potential to revolutionize smartwatches and make them mainstream.
On Monday, Google and Luxottica, the largest eyewear/sunglasses maker, announced a new partnership that could product smartglasses. The concept is to take the Google Glass technology–which gives the wearer a thumbnail-sized screen above the right eye to view online content—and incorporate it into Luxxotica’s eyewear.
From Geek to Chic?
Although Google and Luxottica don’t plan to disclose details of the resulting product until a later stage, Luxottica added that two of its brands, Ray-Ban and Oakley, which have a 10-year track record in using MP3 to HUD devices, will be part of the Google Glass collaboration.
“We live in a world where technological innovation has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate and interact in everything that we do,” Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra said. “More importantly, we have come to a point where we now have both a technology push and a consumer pull for wearable technology products and applications.”
Until now Google Glass has been a nice market. The smartglasses sell for $1,500 to a select group of test consumers known as “Explorers,” about 10,000 people. Since through Google Glass wearers can operate camera and video, there has been some backlash against the product as “spywear.”
But this partnership with Luxottica, which boasts some 6,500 stores internationally, could help popularize the Google Glass technology.
And Luxottica stands to gain even more market share. According to estimates by IMS Research, shipments of smartglasses should rise to 6.6 million units in 2016—though only a fraction of the 900 million units sold last year.