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A panel at the Intel booth on wearables where Oakley CEO Colin Baden speaks
A panel at the Intel booth on wearables.

Everywhere you turn at CES, people are talking (and showcasing) wearables.

But what does one of the world’s largest makers of sunglasses — whose hip products are worn on the faces of millions of people around the globe — think of the trend?

Intel CEO Brian and Oakley CEO Colin Baden at CES
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Oakley CEO Colin Baden at CES

Oakley CEO Colin Baden offered a bit of insight today at a panel discussion hosted at the Intel booth, following news yesterday that Intel and Oakley are partnering on a new type of connected athletic eyewear that is set to launch later this year. Baden and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich appeared live on stage during the evening keynote yesterday to talk more about their alliance.

Here’s what Baden had to say in today’s smaller panel at the Intel booth:

“The eyewear that you wear or the goggle that you wear essentially becomes part of your personality, so it is as much about common sense as it is about emotion. If you are going to choose something that benefits both your personality and functionally does the smart technology augment some other aspect of your life. And, so for us, in that space, on the one hand, we have a history of putting out pretty outrageous products. And you either like them or you want to burn our building down, right? I love those products…. I think it is important that we always strive to try to change the common environment and push the envelope. To be brave and change the norm.

In our space, as an athletic company, a lot of the products that we see … are going to be on people who wear lycra. And when you are putting products on people who dress like Superman, you have this huge license to do whatever the hell you want. It is almost like this easy hall pass at the beginning, but it is important to note that I don’t see that as the end game. I want to see this partnership influence things we do in lifestyle. That the technology that Brian’s team is compressing down to the size of pinhead can make a person feel comfortable wearing it, but can do so many other things for them.

The product has to be authentic for us to be credible. If we are going to produce something that has this augmented experience, we can’t have the front row laughing at us. We have to have the respect of the people who have represented us for the last 40 years, and if we fail at that, then we are making something that is novelty. And we are not about novelties. We are about real science and real technology.”


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