IF YOU'RE THE KIND of over-privileged soul who finds reaching for their phones just a bit too much like hard work, then good news: Jacquard, Google's smart clothing technology, is coming back in four Levi jackets.
The original Jacquard jacket connected to your smartphone via a Bluetooth tag and would let you control your handsets remotely by touching an area of the cuff, as if you were unsuccessfully trying to remove a stubborn bit of dirt. That mildly useful functionality was somewhat let down by the fact that the fabric could only be washed a certain number of times, and cost $350.
This time, Levi and Google have managed to cut the price and raise the functionality. For starters, the Jacquard tag itself is considerably smaller, going from the size of a USB stick down to the scale of an SD card. That doesn't sound like a big change, but in fashion, it could make all the difference, it's fair to say.
Functionality wise, as well as the boy-band-riffic sounding Always Together feature which sent the garment into a panic if you left the house without your phone, there are some new treats too.
A gesture can trigger the camera from your phone, for example, if you're either a selfie fan or a connoisseur of inner-pocket photography. It's also gone big on Google Assistant, with another gesture triggering the "my day" personal briefing, and the option to program different assistant commands to specific gestures. We'd set it to tell a joke every time you stroke the cuff, if it weren't for the very real risk of wearing out the fabric with side-spitter after rib-tickler.
The range of Levi jackets will go on sale on 3 October, starting at $198 for the Classic Trucker and rising to $248 for the Sherpa Trucker, which is a definite improvement, even if it still feels like one for the ‘more money than sense' brigade. Still: it's cheaper than the £685 Saint Laurent Jacquard backpack. µ
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