With just months to go before it hits the market, Google Glass has been making strides in becoming more accessible than its first awkward, futuristic-looking prototypes were. In January, a new line of frame shapes brought the technology that much closer to actually being wearable -- and now, Google's taking an even smarter step: Teaming up with eyewear giant Luxottica.
Although Google will continue to offer the titanium frames it designed in-house for participants in its Explorer Program -- the beta phase during which consumers can buy Google Glass while it is in development -- Luxottica brings the design capabilities of portfolio companies like Oliver Peoples, Persol, Oakley and Ray-Ban to the table. Google plans to work with Ray-Ban and Oakley right off the bat, the company said in a statement Monday evening.
According to Google, Luxottica will "manufacture [the] frames and lead distribution" in optical stores, kiosks and other sales outlets. Sitting on the vast majority of the eyewear market, Luxottica has enormous distributing power. Remember, this is the behemoth that startups like Warby Parker have been trying to take on since it was founded.
With its reach, Luxottica could do a lot to normalize Glass. Not everyone is going to snap up Glass when it starts appearing in stores, but exposure alone will make it increasingly palatable to wary consumers. From a design standpoint, the influence of brands like Ray-Ban could do a lot to make Glass seem cooler.
This partnership also lays to rest those rumors that Warby Parker would be creating frames for Glass, although both companies had separately confirmed to us in January that there was no partnership in place.
The price point on the Luxottica-designed frames, where to buy information and release date will be released when they are publicly available, Google says.