Forget designer collections for H&M and Target. Wearable tech collabs are where it's at now.
Intel and the eyewear giant Luxottica have announced that they're bringing their resources together in a multi-year R&D project to create smart eyewear. They're both existing participants in the wearables world -- Luxottica linked up with Google Glass in March to get its Ray-Ban and Oakley brands working with the development team.
Intel has been working its butt off lately to establish itself as the go-to for all things wearable tech. And with good reason: As CEO Brian Kzanich said at the New York Times International Luxury Conference on Wednesday, "We think wearables could grow into a multi-billion dollar business for us."
But because it only has the tech part of the equation down, Intel has been aggressive in setting up partnerships with other design teams. In January of last year the tech giant set up formal ties with the CFDA to get developers and fashion designers talking, and by November it had created a luxe smart bracelet in collaboration with Opening Ceremony. This week, reports surfaced that Intel would be providing the processor for the new version of Google Glass. To be wearable tech's MVP, Intel also has to be a team player.
The first fruits of Intel and Luxottica's collaboration are expected to drop in 2015. We wouldn't rush it, though. Hardware developers and accessories designers are working with very different goals and constraints in mind, and the more opportunities they have to work with one another, the better. Intel's bracelet with Opening Ceremony wound up being more of a fashion product than an innovative tech device. We'll see how things turn out this time around.