Detailed on the official Google Glass Google+ page earlier today, Google has entered into a partnership with Luxottica, the creators of the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, in order to develop a line of frames that are equipped with Google Glass. According to the terms of the deal, Luxottica will design and manufacture the frames with Glass installed. In addition, Luxottica will be distributing the Glass-enabled frames within more than 5,000 retail locations around the United States that include both LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut retail stores.
This opens up huge possibilities for the future of Google Glass, namely the ability to get Google Glass in the hands of millions of Americans. This distribution model will allow interested consumers the ability to test out the glasses in retail locations, ideal when considering a purchase of the expensive frames. While Google is still planning on shifting to a wide public release of Google Glass before the end of 2014, consumers may be better off waiting until Luxottica releases the first designs in order to compare all the available frame styles.
According to representatives from both companies, there’s no launch date set for the Luxottica-designed models. However, Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra told the Wall Street Journal that the company was working with the Google Glass team in order to create a design in which Google Glass is blended into the frames rather than being mounted on top of the frames.
Speaking about the deal to the Journal, Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder said “Partnering with Luxottica is a huge coup for Google. In one fell swoop, Google could get Glass in front of tens or hundreds of millions of consumers in an eyewear-appropriate setting.” Beyond the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, Luxottica also owns brands such as Vogue-Eyewear, Alain Mikli, Persol, Oliver Peoples and Arnette. Luxottica nor Google indicated if the new Glass-enabled frames would be distributed outside the United States.