Google Glass is about to get a whole lot more stylish as Coastal.com, best known as ClearlyContacts.ca, has announced that they will be offering a wide selection of Glass-compatible frames later this year.
The Vancouver-based optical leader told Betakit that they are readying “a couple hundred” frames within the collections they manufacturer to work with Google Glass. Coastal.com brands include Derek Cardigan, Joseph Marc, Ltede and Kam Dhillon. It is expected that Glass owners will simply choose Google Glass as an add-on to supported frames when they shop online.
To make glasses Google Glass-compatible, Coastal.com is leveraging its vertically integrated, global optical labs to modify supported frames by installing custom right arms made to mount the device. The company told us that as the demand for Glass right now is quite small, they will be modifying pairs as they are ordered, but are fully capable of manufacturing Glass-specific pairs in larger quantities when the device really hits the mainstream.
Coastal.com doesn’t expect much additional time to be added to frame orders that have the Glass-add on but will be charging extra for the modification. No pricing has been confirmed. And not all prescriptions will work. CNET reported that extreme prescriptions outside of +4 and -4 won’t work with Glass and those needing bifocals and trifocals may need to check with an optometrist beforehand.
Coastal.com CMO and Google Glass Explorer, Braden Hoeppner, drew from his own experience with Glass to better understand the optical needs of the device. “As an Explorer, it showed me what the needs for prescription eyewear have to be to support wearable technology,” he told Betakit. “When I first used Google Glass, it was Google Glass over my glasses and I thought ‘this is not going to work, nobody is going to adopt this’. And if I take my glasses off I can’t see, so it doesn’t work that way either. So we need to make this work with a pair of glasses”.
Hoeppner currently wears Glass with a pair of frames from Google who released their options just last month. Currently, Google offers only four styles of frames for the device which retail for $225. They don’t fulfill prescription lenses themselves but have created a network of optical firms to do so.
Although Google’s frames are quite stylish, more variety may be key to wider acceptance and adoption of Google Glass. “What we have learned being leaders in the optical business is that people want a wide variety of styles and if wearable technology is going to catch on and be successful, we are going to need to empower people to make style choices,” Hoeppner explained. “People will be much more receptive to wearable tech when they feel like it fits more with their own personal style and own personal expression of style”.
Coastal.com’s support for smart glasses won’t stop at Google Glass. Hoeppner told us that the company is keeping an eye on other devices like the rumoured Samsung Gear Glasses and fully intend to make frames available for new smart glasses as they establish themselves in the market.
Photo Credit: Sarah Boland from ClearlyContacts.ca