Dec 3, 2014
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Intel partners with Luxottica for wearable tech with an eye on fashion

Dec 3, 2014

Back in March, Google announced that it was teaming up with the company to bring a fashionable, luxury feel to the next generation of Google Glass, and eight months on, Intel too is realizing that the key to making wearable technology persuasive, exciting and desirable is to treat devices as fashion accessories, rather than simply high-tech accessories.

"The growth of wearable technology is creating a new playing field for innovation," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the New York Times International Luxury Conference on Wednesday where the partnership was officially confirmed. "Through our collaboration with Luxottica Group, we will unite our respective ecosystems and bring together Intel's leading-edge silicon and software technology with Luxottica's design innovation and consumer expertise. We expect the combination of our expertise to help drive a much faster pace of innovation and push the envelope of what's possible."

Photo: Luxottica

The ultimate aim of the strategic alliance is to "anticipate what smart technology for eyewear will look like in the future" and to deliver products that are "meaningful and desirable" to consumers.

The first co-developed product is expected to launch in 2015.

"Together with Intel, we will continue to develop the potential of wearables, expanding the limits of what eyewear can be," said Massimo Vian, CEO of Luxottica Group. "We'll lead the change to create frames that are as intelligent and functional as they are beautiful."

As well as Ray-Ban and Oakley, Luxottica owns Persol and Arnette and is licensed to create glasses under the Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Donna Karen and Prada brands, among others.

When it comes to creating a tech device that is worn rather than carried, companies are realizing that one size definitely does not fit all. In September, Apple's CEO Tim Cook told PBS News' Charlie Rose that it's not enough for a smartwatch to work well. Talking about the development of the Apple Watch, he said: "To wear something it had to be incredibly personal. It had to reflect your taste and express what you wanted to express about yourself. It's sort of like your clothes and your shoes. You're not going to wear the same thing everybody else does. And so, most tech companies, I think, look at this as only technology. We recognize that technology itself isn't sufficient, that it had to have a style element. It had to be something that you're proud of wearing. I mean, this is connected to your body."

Intel clearly recognizes the challenges of making technology fashionable: as well as partnering with the company responsible for Ray-Bans, it recently launched the MICA, a luxury smart bracelet developed in partnership with Opening Ceremony.

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