It’s happening, just like Marc Andreessen said it would — more and more companies that have historically operated in the analog realm are crossing over into technology. The latest cool example of this is the eyewear company Oakley. While Oakley has always been closely associated with sports and has therefore used advanced materials, the end result is ultimately for things that are relatively low-tech — glasses, sunglasses, and the like.
But last week saw the debut of an Oakley product that is a legitimate consumer electronics device: The Oakley Airwave. The Airwave is a $600 snow goggle that’s for sale in Apple stores and through Oakley for skiing and snowboarding that contains a small display integrated with GPS, Bluetooth, and onboard sensors all powered by technology built by a company called Recon Instruments. This lets users see how fast they’re going, where their friends are on the mountain, listen and control music, see text messages, all while on the slopes — the user can download a corresponding Airwave app for Android or iOS and control their phone and other media through the Airwave’s wrist controller. Oakley has also released an SDK to let independent developers make apps that integrate with the Airwave.
In all, it’s a full-on wearable technology device that’s getting a bit into Google Glass territory, though it’s important to note that the Airwave’s display is not something that takes up the entire lens of the google — it’s only off in a small screen in the lower right hand corner of your vision, like this:
It’s an interesting product, so it was good to have Oakley CEO Colin Baden along with global category manager Chris Petrillo visit TechCrunch TV to give us a hands-on look at the Airwave. Watch the video above to see a bit of the Airwave in action and hear about how Oakley as a company is bridging into the tech space.
Oakley was created for world-class athletes, those who see the limits of possibility as just another challenge. Their dedication drives Oakley to look beyond the conventional ideas of industry standards. Oakley identifies problems, creates inventions, and wraps those inventions in art.