Jacquard Smart Jacket from Levi’s and Google Coming This Fall

smart jacket project jacquard

It’s encouraging to see Google move fast on several fronts over the past few months. The search and advertising giant has made rapid strides in the areas of cloud computing, enterprise SaaS, devices, autonomous vehicle technology and even streaming media. The restructuring of Google’s many parts into units under the parent company Alphabet Inc. has done tremendous good, it seems.

The latest from the house of Alphabet is Project Jacquard, a partnership between one of the most iconic tech companies of our times and one of the most respected apparel brands of all time – Levi’s. The joint project was an attempt to create smart fabrics that could be used in a variety of practical applications, and the first product – a smart jacket – should be out in the market this fall.

Although the smart jacket was initially slated for a Spring launch, Google and Levi’s have now decided that a Fall launch is the earliest one possible. The jacket doesn’t appear to be the cause of the delay, since that’s been showcased several times in the past. It looks like the smartphone app that manages it is the problem.

The $350 price point seems a little pricey for the kind of limited functionality the jacket comes with. For now, you can only swipe out, swipe in and double-tap, and the app will let you map those gestures to specific actions on your smartphone, such as skipping to the next song, get directions, dismiss a call and so on. Both companies want to keep adding functionality to the jacket over time.

From a capability perspective, the smart jacket from Levi’s and Google might not be what you would call revolutionary or ground-breaking. But the technology embedded in the product – literally – certainly can be. From a practical viewpoint, you could say that it is one of the very few wearable technology products today that can really help take our focus off our smartphones.

As new functionality is added, there will be more practical applications that this technology can be used in, such as smart furniture upholstery that allows you to control your smart home appliances, for example.

The tech is solid, and we have at least one product coming to the market, so we expect that there will be a gradual increase in momentum in this segment over the next couple of years. And we’ll be right there to report it as the news hits.

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