Levi's and Google's smart jacket -- price, release date and what it can do

Project Jacquard levi's jacket
Credit: Project Jacquard

Ever find yourself wishing that a tech company could make your smartphone accessible from your wrist? Um, without using a smartwatch?

Well, now Google and Levi's have teamed up to do just that, with a smart jacket that allows you to control your smartphone from a fabric patch near your wrist. But how does it work?

In IT Blogwatch, everything is connected.

So what is going on? Aaron Mamiit has some background:

Google and Levi's first announced Project Jacquard back in June 2015, promising smart clothes...capable of interacting with the mobile devices of the wearer.
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Almost two years later, the unlikely partnership has...revealed that a smart jacket...will be released into the market in the fall.

Project Jacquard? What is that? Anmol Sachdeva reminds us:

Project Jacquard...is an initiative which makes it possible to weave multi-touch sensors and other electronics into your clothes using standard industrial looms. Levi’s combined thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns...to build Jacquard’s yarn structure, making it indistinguishable from traditional yarns. It aims to turn our clothes into smart, connected wearable devices that provide touch and gesture functionality through woven interactive surfaces.

Sounds intruiging. So what do we know about this actual jacket? Adam Westlake has some details:

Dubbed the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, it...uses Bluetooth to connect with a smartphone, and the left cuff acts as a kind of touchpad that users can tap or swipe on...music playback or answering a phone call can be controlled by interacting with the fabric, and gestures can be customized with an accompanying app. A small rechargeable battery connects to the inside of the sleeve, and offers roughly two days of use.

Can the jacket do anything besides play music or answer a call? Lulu Chang fills us in:

Google is trying to figure out how third-party developers can contribute to the platform...for the time being, the Commuter will only be able to manipulate the core functionality of your smartphone, like answering the phone, reading texts, or managing your Calendar and figuring out Maps.

What else do we know about the Commuter? Stephen Hall got to try it out:

The jacket...[has] four parts: the Levi’s jacket itself...the Jacquard fabric strip on the...jacket’s cuff, the Jacquard tag (which houses...the tech)...and...the companion Jacquard app for your phone.
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There’s a patch that’s about 3 inches by 3 inches on the cuff of the jacket...it’s invisible enough that no one would know it’s there...(although I can’t say the same about the plastic tag).
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The Jacquard tag is a flexible piece of plastic that you clip onto the jacket itself...there’s a small pocket made specifically for the USB connector end, so it stays mostly out of the way.

And what is the the thinking behind this product? Alan F. is in the know:

The project's main task is to take everyday items that you usually would not consider high tech...and give them...interactive capabilities. The goal is to allow us to garner information from our smartphones without having to look at them...yeah, that sounds like the raison d'être for using a smartwatch, but again, the items used in this project are not normally tech oriented.

So what's the price tag on this thing? Anything else we should know? Justin Diaz keeps us informed:

Google & Levi’s say that their Jacquard jacket will be about $350 when it hits store shelves...with...a release window of sometime in the fall.
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The fall seems like the perfect time for such a jacket launch...as it...is when the weather will start to cool down...It’s...not likely...the weather is the only factor in...this launch date...it’s more logical that Google and Levi’s simply have more work to do on the product...Since this will be part of Levi’s Commuter line of clothing, the jacket is likely to have some water treatment applied to it...and it’ll be geared towards cyclists.

What do you think? Will people buy it? Michelle Sadlier might:

Excited to try it on!
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