Oakley Intros Airwave, a Snow Goggle With Heads-Up Display

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By Andrew Karp: Group Editor, Lenses + Technology

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.—Oakley’s release of its Oakley Airwave snow goggle last month represents the company’s entry into a fast growing market for Heads-Up Display (HUD) technology in sports and other applications.

The new goggle is the first Oakley product to be distributed through select Apple stores and at Apple.com. It combines Oakley’s best goggle technologies with a heads-up display developed by Recon Instruments that integrates GPS, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity and other features with a host of onboard sensors and is controlled with a wrist mounted device. An Oakley-designed app allows the wearer to locate and track friends that either have the Oakley Airwave goggle or the app on their smartphone.

 

Oakley chief Colin Baden says the new Oakley Airwave “brings alpine sports into the future with a stunning array of capabilities.” 

“Our icon defines the leading edge of performance innovation, and the new Airwave goggle brings alpine sports into the future with a stunning array of capabilities,” said Oakley CEO Colin Baden. “It utilizes cutting-edge electronics to give skiers and riders instant access to a world of information. Airwave represents the power and possibility of technology, and it comes with world-class optical performance, comfort and protection engineered over decades of Oakley innovation.”

Baden told VM that Oakley’s decision to sell Airwave through Apple stores in North America, Europe and Japan and through the Apple website is “an interesting change to our business model.”

“We’re aspirational that it’s successful in that channel,” he said. “I think they do a pretty good job as a premium retailer, and that their associates are pretty well trained to discuss the details of the product. I’m not sure how many avid skiers think they should walk to their nearest Apple store to get their optical products,” Baden continued. “But suffice it to say if we leverage this into eyewear, then I see a real relevance in that partnership in that it’s the place where the technology and mobile device come alive. And there’s a real strong connection between what we do in the technology space, so I think it’s a good field to experiment in and understand.”



 


Oakley Airwave is equipped with GPS, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity and other features.
Baden said the goggles will retail for $599, about twice the price of a premium Oakley snow goggle without electronics. With Airwave, alpine sports enthusiasts can access a full range of information transmitted directly to the eye. Wearers can view jump analytics that show distance, height and airtime, pinpoint precise locations alongside navigational information, find their way around resorts and backcountry runs, and even locate and track others in their group. Additional sensor information includes temperature, altitude, velocity and vertical descent data. The goggle can be paired with a smartphone, which allows immediate viewing of incoming calls and text messages, and music play- lists on a Bluetooth-enabled device can be easily accessed and controlled. It is currently available for the Android operating system, and for the iPhone in December. Other Oakley-specific features with Airwave include:
  • Oakley Switchlock Technology, which makes the process of lens changing quick and easy and allows the wearer to take advantage of the wide array of premium performance lens tints that optimize vision for environmental conditions.
  • The heads-up display is designed for an unobtrusive view, and semi-flush lens geometry ensures wide peripheral vision. F3 anti-fog technology is paired with a dual-vented lens design to help keep vision clear.
  • Oakley Plutonite lens material filters out 100 percent of all UV, and Iridium lens coatings balance light transmission.
  • Designed for a comfortable fit on medium to large faces, the chassis is made of durable yet lightweight O Matter that stays comfortably flexible.
  • Oakley’s O-Flow Arch technology reduces nasal pressure to maximize airflow for free breathing.

Oakley Airwave is also sold at Oakley Stores and Oakley.com, as well as at SunglassHut.com and ReconInstruments.com

akarp@jobson.com