I’ll admit it — I totally forgot about the jean jacket Google and Levi’s have been teasing for ages now. We hadn’t heard much since they detailed the Commuter Trucker Jacket at the Google I/O developers conference last year, but at SXSW over the weekend, Google announced that it’ll be sold starting this fall for $350.
The concept hasn’t changed from what was shown off at Google I/O. The jacket uses a special kind of conductive yarn that Google created through Project Jacquard, one of their many experimental offshoots. There’s a small patch of the yarn on the sleeve that looks a bit different — that patch can be used to control some smartphone basics. On the other side of the sleeve, a small dongle designed to look like a button tab connects to smartphones over Bluetooth, which routes touch commands to the phone. Tapping and swiping on the patch can then be used to control volume, track skipping, or phone calls.
The jacket is meant for cyclists who need to leave their phones in their pockets while riding to work. The jacket gives them a simple way to control the basics without fumbling for a small in-line remote or, worse, the phone itself.
The release of the jacket also means that Google has decided that their conductive yarn is ready to hit the market. If denim isn’t your thing, chances are this is far from the last time Google’s newest creation will find its way into clothing.
At Google I/O last year, the two companies were eyeing a spring 2017 release, so there’s been a slight delay. That, or the two just figured fall was a better time to sell a jean jacket — they’re probably not wrong. We don’t yet know whether the Commuter Trucker Jacket will be available in stores or just online.