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Intel taps Italian designer for smart glass

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart eyewear? smart glass? Google Glass? Luxottica?

Intel teamed up with Italian fashion designer Luxottica to develop high-end smart eyewear. The chipmaker is expected to have silicon in the next generation of Google Glass, which also tapped Luxottica for its design.

Luxotticawhich owns luxury brands Ray Ban, Oakley and Persol, and licenses Chanel and Tiffanyhopes its partnership with Intel will create unique devices. Chief executive Massimo Vian told Reuters, "We've started to work on sensors which can detect, say, temperature or location." The first Intel-Luxottica product is expected next year.

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

Krzanich and Vian

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (left) with Luxottica CEO Massimo Vian (Source: Luxottica Group)

Fashion may be the key to success in the wearables market. While Google Glass may have name recognition, its design is somewhat unwieldy. Up-and-coming Oculus is even chunkier and designed for video gaming rather than daily wear.

Intel was unavailable to comment on which of its technologies could succeed in this partnership, or if it would develop new silicon. The company has aggressively targeted the wearables market with its Edison SoC and associated technologies.

"This could be a very big deal for Intel. Luxottica owns glasses brands like Oakley and Ray Ban that make sense short-term to add intelligence to," says Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights and Strategy.

Moorhead, who has previously called for additional commercial uses for Google Glass, said this partnership could develop a brand of glasses for use in the repair, law enforcement, medical and manufacturing markets. Intel would also be wise to partner with a variety of companies, as industry experts question Glass's longevity and whether the project is dead already.

"Intel needs to spread itself as widely as it can as the market is in its infancy, and the winners haven't been chosen yet," Moorhead says.

Market watcher Seeking Alpha doesn't expect the partnership to effect near-term sales, though the deal will likely bolster Intel's market standing "relative to the ARM CPU developers who claim the lion's share of smartphone/tablet processor sales."

- Jessica Lipsky
??EE Times

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