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Google Glass Goes Upscale With Luxottica Deal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Luxottica (LUX) shares climbed 3.67% to $55.87 before market open on Tuesday following the announcement of the Ray-Ban maker's deal with Google (GOOG) to design and distribute eyewear for the company's Glass technology.

One of the new wave of wearable technology devices, Glass uses a monitor in the corner of an eyeglass frame to display information, take photos and respond to voice commands for email and messaging.

Google announced the deal in a blog posting late on Monday, citing Luxottica's status as a maker of "premium, luxury and sports eyewear," as well as its 5,000-plus U.S. retail stores.

"Through this relationship, Luxottica and Google, who are setting the pace in their respective industries, will match up high-tech developers with fashion designers and eyewear professionals," added Luxottica, in its own statement. "In particular, the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology."

Luxottica noted that its two major brands, Ray-Ban and Oakley, have a strong heritage in wearable technology, which has evolved from MP3 to HUD (Heads-Up Display) devices which enable consumers to see data without shifting their viewpoint. The company added that Ray-Ban and Oakley will be part of the collaboration with Google Glass, but said details about the new products will be disclosed at a later date.

With such strong brands in its arsenal, Luxottica could be a crucial weapon for Google. The likes of Ray-Ban and Oakley could help the tech giant win the aesthetic battle as it pushes Glass into the mainstream.

Earlier this year, Google unveiled its Titanium collection of Glass products, touting over 40 different colors, shades and frames. The company has also launched its Explorer program for early adopters of the technology who are willing to help the Mountain View, Calif.-based firm test Glass.

In its blog posting, Google acknowledged that the Titanium collection is "not enough," adding that Luxottica will boost the company's Glass efforts. "They'll bring design and manufacturing expertise to the mix, and, together, we'll bring even more Glass style choices to our Explorers," Google wrote. "In addition, Luxottica's retail and wholesale distribution channels will serve us well when we make Glass available to more people down the road."

"You're not going to see Glass on your favorite Oakleys or Ray-Bans tomorrow, but today marks the start of a new chapter in Glass's design," it added.

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