When Google met Levi’s


When it comes to “wearable,” few brands are as longstanding as Levi Strauss.

As for technology, Google is arguably king. Both are headquartered in the Bay Area, so it is no surprise those two would somehow come together as wearable and technology continue to merge.

The result of this meeting of the minds is the Smart Commuter jacket, the latest in a long line of wearable technology, introduced recently at the ultrahip South by Southwest festival.

The denim jacket — based on an existing Levi’s product — has a niche audience, designed to be worn by those who bike to work. The technology — powered by a cufflink of sorts — connects to a headphone. Users can receive phone calls, get directions or check the time simply by swiping a sleeve.

The fibers in the jacket are designed to be washable; only the cufflink needs to be removed before it hits water. The cufflink needs to be recharged every two days.

The Smart Commuter jacket is expected to be on store shelves by fall with a $350 price tag. While it is yet to be seen whether this will prove to be the latest innovation in smart clothing, the entry of a longstanding apparel brand into the rapidly growing field is worth noting.

Only question: Will it need to be upgraded as frequently as an iPhone?


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