Google and Levi’s launch their not so “Smart Jacket”

Google and Levi Strauss have partnered to make a “smart jacket”, and the final product is not exactly as good as you would expect from a collaboration between business giants like these.

The apparel, a $350 denim jacket going on sale as “Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google”, is the first product of a two-year-long partnership between the two firms that started back in May 2015 with the intention of making a pair of “smart jeans”. The idea was to use a newly designed conductive fabric, Jacquard to allow wireless transmission of data and power.

The cons, however are multiple. The features which come with a free smart tag are indeed not that smart.

Pros may be considered under a small bracket. The jacket includes a “smart tag”, which is basically a smartwatch without the watch, and keeps the sleeve in place: it lights up in various colours, vibrates upon receiving notifications, can be tapped to issue commands, and is the central hub of the jacket. But the sleeve itself is also touch sensitive. With a simple stroke on your arm you can control your smartphone. That is the fancy Jacquard fabric in action.

Oddly, all of the jacket’s features seem to require not only having your smartphone paired with it, but also having the headphones on.

One more downside of the jean jacket is that the fabric can only survive being washed 10 times. After that, the jacket goes invalid.


(Santadeep Dey for Team Swalla)