Ray-Ban Maker Luxottica Clinches Google Glass Deal
Albert Llop, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN -- Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, has struck a deal to design, develop and distribute glasses based on Google's (GOOG) Internet-connected Glass eyewear, potentially bringing the new technology to a wider market.

Google Glass is a small stamp-sized screen attached to a pair of spectacle frames. It can record video, access email, and retrieve information from the Web by connecting wirelessly to a user's cell phone.

Italy's Luxottica said Tuesday its two major brands, Ray-Ban and Oakley, would be part of the deal, but gave no financial or other 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," Luxottica Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra said.

Guerra told la Repubblica newspaper that the new glasses would be ready to hit the market in 2015.

Many technology experts believe wearable computers such as Google Glass will be the next big market for consumer devices, and could mirror the way smartphones evolved from personal computers.

However, some express concern over issues such as privacy intrusion, data security and the safety of wearing Internet-connected glasses while performing other tasks.

At 0805 GMT (4:05 a.m. Eastern time), Luxottica shares were up 3 percent at 40.15 euros, compared with a 0.9 percent rise in Italy's benchmark stock index.

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When designer shades became popular in the 70s there was a rash of eyewear thefts--and some of those sunglasses were in the $300 range. How is this going to be any different? The smartphone is the #1 street theft item today. I mean it just seems obvious that something as easy to steal as eyewear is going to be irrestible to thieves. And considering the aftermarket for smartphones should this doo-dad become popular that market will certainly exist.

March 25 2014 at 6:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply