Google has just announced that it has signed a deal with with Ray-Ban and Oakley parent company Luxottica to work together on creating a series of frames compatible with Google Glass. Google also notes that the retail channels of Luxottica will make distributing Glass to the mainstream public even easier.
Unfortunately, details about availability and specific designs remain sparse, as Google notes several times that this announcement is simply to inform customers that the two companies are working together, not that they have any product to release. At first, Google says it plans to work with Ray-Ban and Oakley, but will eventually expand into Luxottica’s other brands, which include Vogue-Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli, and Arnette. The first designs are expected to feature “avant-garde design,” which implies something more stylish than the bland offerings Google has now.
Google hopes that this partnership will make Glass more appealing to the general public, as people associate the Ray-Ban and Oakley names with style and high-end eyewear. The deal will also offer even more customization options. “Between frames, shades, and colors, there are over 40 different ways for Explorers to make Glass their own today,” Google said, “but that’s not enough.
Earlier this year, Google announced its own in-house designed frames, dubbed the Titanium Collection. Wetley also announced its own prescription frames, and was first to the market. You can read a FAQ about the partnership from Google below:
Q. Why are you making this announcement? For hundreds of years, people’s glasses have served a single purpose. With Glass, prescription frames and sunglasses will be able to do so much more. Glass gets people the technology they need right when they need. Rather than being distracted and looking down at technology, Glass lets people look up and engage with the world around them.
Q. What kind of Luxottica brands will be a part of this? A. Luxottica has a strong, well-balanced brand portfolio that includes Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue-Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli and Arnette. While it’s still early days, we are looking to work with the Oakley and Ray-Bans brands in the initial phases and will look to incorporate more Luxottica brands down the road.
Q. When can I buy these frames? A. Details about where to buy what styles will be shared when they’re publicly available so stay tuned.
Q. Is this part of Glass’ consumer launch? When will Glass be available to the wider public? No, this announcement is about a new partnership. As we said last Fall, we’re always finding new ways to expand our Explorer Program and will continue to do so ahead of a wider consumer launch down the road.
Q. Where are these styles going to be sold? A. Details about these styles will be shared when they’re available. Broadly speaking, however, Luxottica’s retail and wholesale distribution channels will serve us well when we make Glass available to more people.
Q: What does this mean for the Titanium Collection you announced in January? A. In January, we announced Glass frames and shades, which marked the next phase in the evolution of Glass as we move towards a wider consumer launch. We’ll continue to offer the Titanium Collection and we’ll continue creating our own frames with Luxottica’s help.
Q: Will Luxottica be manufacturing all Glass-related frames? A. Given Luxottica’s rich history in manufacturing, we anticipate that they will have a significant role in the manufacturing of Glass-related frames.
Q. What will the price point be for these frames? A. Details about these styles will be shared when they’re available.
Q. Is this deal with Luxottica exclusive? A. We are working with Luxottica on Exclusive new eyewear collections, so stay tuned.
Q. Is this deal beyond the U.S. since Luxottica is a global company? A. Right now the Glass team and Luxottica are focused on the U.S. market and have nothing to announce beyond that.
Q. What details of the agreement are you willing to share? A. We’ll collaborate with Luxottica on the design of all Glass-compatible frames. Luxottica will manufacture these frames and lead distribution of Glass in the eyewear category (in optical shops, kiosks, etc.) and Glass will continue to sell the device online through our Explorer program.