VANCOUVER, BC (BRAIN) — Intel Capital has invested in Recon Instruments, the maker of a "smart" sunglass aimed, at least initially, at the cycling market.
Recon's Jet sunglass is seen by many as a competitor to the much-hyped Google Glass. While neither product has shipped to consumers, Recon has delivered about 50,000 of its smart snowsports goggles, which feature similar technology.
Recon began accepting $500 pre-orders for the Jet this summer and expects to begin shipping them soon early in the new year. After the pre-order promotion, the Jets will sell for $600 a pair.
At Interbike last week, Recon's chief marketing officer, Tom Fowler, told BRAIN that after initial orders are filled, the company planned to begin selling through a small number of IBDs in the U.S. and abroad. Recon also will sell consumer direct and is exploring sales though consumer electronics retailers, including Apple stores. Some Apple stores have carried the Snow goggle.
Google has not announced plans to ship a consumer model of its Glass, which is aimed at a much broader market for everyday use. Google has sold a limited number of the devices to developers for $1,500.
Fowler also said that several hundred independent developers have expressed interest in making apps for the Jet. Many of those apps are intended for non-cycling activities, including golf, first-response medicine and industrial use. But Fowler said Recon is still focused on the cycling market for the Jet and that most of the functions being developed in house for the device are cycling-related.
While the Snow goggle is being marketed with brand-name goggles from Oakley, Smith and others, the Jet uses a cycling shade developed in-house.
According to SEC filings, Intel's investment was for $4 million. In a press release, Intel's Mike Bell said Recon has "a solid strategy to capitalize on the wearable revolution."