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Intel Taps Luxottica for Smart Eyewear Development

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Intel continues its fashion-forward approach to establishing itself in the emerging market of wearable technology by partnering with Luxottica on a deal to make smart glasses.

Italian eyewear company Luxottica is the largest producer of glasses in the world. Its in-house brands include Ray-Ban and Oakley, while fashion firms like Chanel and Armani license the eyewear company to produce branded glasses for their customer base.

While the terms of the deal are sparse, the two companies have agreed on a multiyear partnership. Intel and Luxottica hope their partnership will result in the 2015 release of a smart eyewear product.

As the top eyewear manufacturer in the world, Luxottica sees the partnership with Intel as an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve, according to Massimo Vian, CEO of Luxottica Group.

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

With the wearable technology market projected to move 130 million devices by 2018, Intel has been expanding its partnerships to ensure its processing power permeates as many of those devices as possible.

Though still unconfirmed, Intel's chips are expected to replace those of Texas Instruments in the next iteration of Google Glass. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the first update to Google Glass since 2012 would see Intel's components replace Texas Instruments' OMAP 4430 processor.

Intel has also partnered with Opening Ceremony and the pair have produced the MICA, a smart band that puts fashion ahead of function. Intel's "fashion-forward" alliance with Opening Ceremony is said to be in the same spirit as its new alliance with Luxottica, as the chipmaker and eyewear company will collaborate on a product that seeks to be more fashionable than Google's Glass.

With Intel powering frames drawn up by Luxottica, the two partners believe they can drive a "faster pace of innovation" in the market and raise the threshold of what's available in the field of wearables in the near future, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

"The growth of wearable technology is creating a new playing field for innovation," says Krzanich. "Through our collaboration with Luxottica Group, we will unite our respective ecosystems and bring together Intel's leading-edge silicon and software technology with Luxottica's design innovation and consumer expertise."

Luxottica also announced a strategic partnership with Google for collaboration on Google Glass in March 2014 involving its Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, with Google hoping to tap into Luxottica's retail and wholesale distribution channels.

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