Despite being one of the most talked about technological developments in recent years, Google Glass has always suffered from something of an image problem. That is to say, for all its futuristic functionality, the device itself remains unattractive. And in a tech world that is increasingly, obsessively concerned with sleek, stylish design, this is a real problem.
Take the Pebble smart watch, for instance; a crowd-funded tech marvel that led the way in wearable tech. But reviews of its earlier incarnation made it clear that the device was a clunky eyesore, and so considerable measures were taken to ensure the later version placed more of a focus on the ‘wearable’ part of ‘wearable tech’.
Now Google is taking similar steps to ensure that future editions of Glass will appeal to consumers, by partnering with Luxottica, the group behind popular eyewear brands Ray-Ban and Oakley.
“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Google, and are proud to be once again setting the pace in the eyewear industry,” states Luxottica’s CEO Andrea Guerra. “We live in a world where technological innovation has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate and interact in everything that we do… 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.”
This collaboration could prove critical in helping Glass achieve the all-important crossover from being seen merely as an expensive, geeky novelty to a must-have lifestyle purchase. J.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester Research, told the Wall Street Journal: “Partnering with Luxottica is a huge coup for Google. In one fell swoop, Google could get Glass in front of hundreds of millions of consumers in an eyewear appropriate setting.”
“Integrating Glass into existing eyewear form factors would go a long way towards helping make ordinary users comfortable with this still quite futuristic trend in connected devices,” writes Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch, “so I’d expect to see something more out of this partnership than simple frames that can support Glass in its existing form.”
Luxottica’s official statement would certainly seem to validate that theory: “We believe it is high time to combine the unique expertise, deep knowledge and quality of our Group with the cutting edge technology expertise of Google,” continues Guerra, “and give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices.”