Google Glass to Get a Makeover
Sci-fi glasses have been appearing in our movies and TV shows for decades – John Carpenter’s 1988 They Live where you can tell if people are actually aliens by looking through some special sunglasses, Geordi La Forge’s VISOR from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ethan Hunt’s video-transmitting glasses in Mission: Impossible… You get the picture.
Google created their own “sci-fi” glasses called Google Glass a little while ago now, but while the Glass “Explorer Edition” was available to “Glass Explorers” early last year, a consumer version is yet to be available for the public. And it can look a little ‘geeky’.
So now, to appeal to more people in the general population, Google is teaming up with the Luxottica Group, which is behind some of the biggest names of designer glasses in the world: Giorgio Armani, Oakley, Prada, Ray-Ban, even Vogue.
In a statement on the announcement of a tie-up between Google and Luxottica, the latter’s Chief Executive Andrea Guerra said that Luxottica wants to be a part of the wearable technology business and has been heavily investing in their own “technology platforms and digital solutions” it can combine with its products.
“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,” said Guerra, adding that by combining both Google and Luxottica’s different areas of expertise, they will be able to “give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices”.
When the new devices have been released on the general market, Luxottica’s 5,000 stores in the US will help to sell the made-over Glass, but at the moment no details have been published about the device’s availability or price. However, Nitin Bhas, who is a senior analyst at mobile research specialists Jupiter Research said that the Glass needs to be cheaper than it currently is for the “Explorers”. “The price needs to come down and I think that when they launch a consumer device it’s going to be much cheaper,” he added. “Google needs multiple frames to make Glass look more stylish and move it beyond the tech-savvy audience.”
In Google’s own announcement statement, it said that Luxottica has the know-how for building, distributing and selling great products that their customers love and that it feels Glass is the “next chapter” in the 700 year history of eyeglasses. “Glass introduces new functionality as your glasses get smarter,” the statement added, “but bringing your own style to Glass is just as important.”
In January, Google announced their first step in appealing to a wider audience, and that at some time this year there will be a new range of prescription Glass glasses and sunglasses, called the Titanium collection.
Dr Astro Teller, Vice President of Google and current overseer of Google X said that Luxottica’s 50 year history in creating some of the world’s best known eyeglasses is impressive and can hopefully give Glass the makeover it needs so it can appeal to more people. He added that Google “are thrilled to be partnering with [Luxottica] as we look to push Glass and the broader industry forward into the emerging smart eyewear market”.
It looks like it’s not going to be long before Glass will be a stylish technological accessory that everyone will be after, maybe even at the same price as a smartphone.
Image source: Google Glass official website