On March 24, Google announced its recent partnership with Luxottica Group. The partnership will pin Luxottica Group as a major provider for Google Glass Frames. According to Luxottica, “[Luxottica’s] wholesale distribution touches 130 Countries in all the 5 continents and makes use of 20 logistic centers and more than 40 commercial subsidiaries, that allows a direct presence in the most important markets.”Critics will watch closely to see what presence if any the company brings to Glass. The hope is that an updated look will make the technology more marketable to the average consumer. Luxottica owns high-end brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley.
“Google has struggled to gain mainstream acceptance for Glass. Certain bars have barred patrons from wearing it, lawmakers are grappling with whether to allow people to wear it while driving, and a man in Ohio was removed from a theater and interrogated by Homeland Security agents after wearing Glass to a movie. Less conspicuous types of wearable computers, like wristbands, are catching on more quickly,” a recent New York Times report states.
Once thing is certain, the new deal with Luxottica could improve the awkward look of the current, quite conspicuous version of Glass.
According to Forbes, “Luxottica produced 75 million glasses in 2012, which it sold through its network of over 7,000 retail stores and through third-parties. Revenues grew from $7.2 billion (€5.2 billion) in 2009 to over $10.2 billion (€7.3 billion) last year.”
While tech and eyewear don’t exactly share the same market space, Google plans to change that with this new deal, which says a lot about how the company is investing in the consumer technology. Glass has yet to produce and distribute millions of glasses like Luxottica; however, Glass is still in beta.
The current manufacturer of Google Glass components is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., or Foxconn Technology Group. There is no word yet on whether Google will continue with Foxconn per the new Luxottica deal.