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Wearable Tech

Intel deal looks ahead to 'fashion-forward' smart eyewear

The world's biggest PC-chipmaker and Luxottica, the world's biggest eyewear maker, join forces to make new wearables.

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Intel and Luxottica plan to come out with their first product in 2015. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Intel on Wednesday revealed a new partnership with Luxottica Group, the largest eyeglass makers in the world, to develop new eyewear using wearable technologies.

The multi-year research and development collaboration hopes to create both "fashion-forward" and high-tech premium, luxury and sports eyewear. The alliance's first product is expected to launch in 2015.

"We expect the combination of our expertise to help drive a much faster pace of innovation and push the envelope of what's possible," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said.

The new deal continues Intel's rapid development of partnerships to create wearable technologies, which include the computer-chips giant signing deals with SMS Audio for smart headphones, watchmaker Fossil for accessories, and design house Opening Ceremony on the MICA luxury smart bracelet. With many of these deals, Intel has emphasized creating fashionable looks, in the hopes of making wearables more enticing to mainstream consumers, who for the most part haven't yet found wearables to be must-have items.

Intel's wearables effort comes as the company sat on the sidelines for years in mobile technology and is now spending billions of dollars trying to claw its way into that market. Looking to avoid a similar fate in other emerging-technology areas, Krzanich -- who became CEO in May 2013 -- has focused on growing in wearables and the Internet of Things, in which everyday objects get an Internet connection.

The company's big push into the young wearable space, though, is still in its early phase and few wearables using Intel technology are on the market.

Italy's Luxottica is the dominant player in eyewear with house brands Ray-Ban, Oakley and Oliver Peoples, and licensed brands including Coach, Versace, Chanel and Prada. The company in March partnered with Google to offer its designs to the search giant's Glass wearable-computer eyeglasses.

Wednesday's announcement comes just a few days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel would replace Texas Instruments in a new version of Google Glass expected next year. With Luxottica now partnered with both Intel and Google, such a collaboration is more possible.

"This is an incredible opportunity for us to continue to innovate and further shape the future of eyewear," said Massimo Vian, CEO of Luxottica Group.