The Luxottica Group, owner of the Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglass brands and retail stores, has agreed to design and distribute a new kind of eyewear for Google Glass.
Luxottica has been working with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) on the Glass project for the past year and the company said Ray-Ban and Oakley would be part of the collaboration but gave no further details.
“We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale,” said Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra to The Wall Street Journal.
Wearable computers such as Google Glass could be the next big market for consumer devices, and could mirror the way smartphones evolved from personal computers, according to analysts. The deal with Luxottica is important for Google because it gives the company big-name backing in the eyewear industry, an important factor if Google Glass products want to compete in the general consumer market. Google itself cited Luxottica’s experience selling eyewear to consumers as a key factor in its decision to partner with the company.
Luxottica has more than 5,000 retail stores in the U.S. The company also owns the Vogue-Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli and Arnette eyewear labels.
This is the second major announcement for Google’s wearable tech products, following last week’s news that the internet giant has debuted its first wearable mobile device beyond Google Glass in the form of an Android watch, part of the new Android Wear product line.