Google Glass is poised to go enter the high-end mainstream market. The internet titan has teamed up with Luxottica, manufacturers of the Oakley and Ray-Ban eyewear brands, to design and produce an exclusive line of eyewear frames that would integrate the long-awaited and promising Google technology. The initial market will focus on the two brands and will initially be available in the USA.
The logistics have been worked out, with the design being a collaboration, while production and distribution solely by Luxottica. Their press release promises to “combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality and performance.” The company is currently a high profile seller, with a 12.4 percent share of eyewear sales and retail stores numbering over 5,000 worldwide, which would easily bring the upcoming product to the mainstream audience. It would also be the first eyewear company to offer Glass as a specially made and designed component of their products.
No release dates have been announced yet, as Google’s blog advises that “You’re not going to see Glass on your favourite Oakleys or Ray-Bans tomorrow, but today marks the start of a new chapter in Glass’ design.” The company is taking into consideration both the function and design of the glasses to ensure their final product has all the specifications to meet customer demands.
Earlier this year, Google announced four eyewear frames that are going to be compatible with prescription lenses with Glass hardware. Made solely by the company, the series is dubbed as the “Titanium Collection” and is designed for both comfort and function. It is designed to be an accessory to the technology, and not as a new product, as Google Glass lead designer Isabelle Olsson reiterates that “this is not a new technology, this is a new accessory to the technology.” The eyewear frames, integrated with Glass, has the best interests of the wearer in mind, and is thought of as a complete unit. as Olsson clarifies that ”It needed to feel like once it’s on there, it feels like a complete product, versus something that feels hodge-podged together.”
In addition to their team up with Luxottica, Google also signed a deal with vision insurance provider VSP that further gives benefits to eyewear consumers, promising to reimburse a fraction of the frame costs and to train optometrists to fit the Glass hardware correctly.