Oakley and Google sitting in a tree, blah, blah, blah. Alternatively bring on the patent war and a fight for smart spec market share.
As you are probably aware by now, earlier this month Google finally unveiled its effort to bring smartphone technology to your eyeball in the form of Project Glass. The main thrust of the reveal was a concept video showing a day in the life of someone wearing these augmented reality specs. We have since also seen pictures of the test models being worn, including in the wild by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
There had been rumors for many months before this of such a project taking shape inside the walls of Google HQ. And the technology required to make it happen already exists. As always it’s just blending it all together and bringing it to market in a mainstream and affordable way that is the problem. Still, Google thinks it will be able to manage this by the end of 2012.
Step forward, Oakley, manufacturer of sunglasses and other sports equipment and apparel. In an interview with Bloomberg, Oakley CEO Colin Baden reveals that his company has been working on HUD (Heads-Up Display) technology for 15 years, and suggests the market is ripe for this new kind of device.
My honest assessment is that Oakley is angling for some kind of partnership here. Baden stated the company has been working on this kind of thing since 1997, and yet they have been trumped by Google, which is now taking all the headlines. Then comes a subtle reminder of Oakley’s ownership of patents in this field, and the suggestion that Oakley has a name and style people will recognize.
What would be more perfect than Oakley providing the design and patents, Google providing the engineering skill, software, and scale needed to keep costs low?