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Google's Jacquard Project is available in Levi's new jackets

Levi & # 39; s announces new jackets with Google's Project Jacquard Technology, which turns part of the sleeve fabric into a touch-sensitive remote control for phones. Both versions are cheaper and more similar to the original versions of the Levi jackets they are based on than the first Jacquard Commuter Trucker Jacket that Levi released two years ago.

The standard truck jacket will be $ 198 and the Sherpa jacket, which adds insulation for colder weather, will be $ 248. They also need to be more widely available than the Commuter Jacket in many Levi retail channels and on its website.

Jackets are much more "normal" than the Commuter Jacket, thanks to two things: a new Jacquard Bluetooth module that is smaller and easier to put on the jacket's cuff and a new method of producing jackets first place. Essentially, Levi gave up weaving the delicate jacquard threads into the sleeve itself.

Instead, he makes the jacket as normal, then inserts a small jacquard tissue inside the cuff of the left sleeve. This helped Levi reduce costs significantly. (The original jacket was $ 350.) In fact, the Commuter Jacket had more compromises than any company really released: the sleeve had to be thicker to ensure that no dirty touches from your hand would occur, a problem solved with the new version with better algorithms.

As to whether anyone wants a smart jacket, I am doubtful. I've been wearing the new Trucker jacket for less than a week, and although the Jacquard app is able to do more than I did when I tried it two years ago, it still feels a bit like a problem-solving solution,

You can program up to four different slides and taps to perform a dozen or more different actions, such as playing / pausing music, muting your phone, putting a pin on a card, or setting your phone to read the time or your appointments. You can also use it to get your phone to give you details about your Uber or turn off Bose noise canceling.

I made some annoyances with the software. For example, if you pair it with an iPhone and ignore your location settings, it will remind you annoyingly that it cannot determine your location by announcing it from the speaker on your phone. The fix is ​​to either give full access to the location, or make sure you don't turn on these features in the first place, which means digging through every part of the application and excluding everything related to the location.

Physically, the only difference between the Jacquard Trucker Jacket and the regular Levi denim jacket (which I wear often) is that the left cuff is a little stiffer and has a button in style. This is because although Jacquard works with touch sensitive threads, there still needs to be some actual electronics in there. Google and Levi insist that washing it several times should not be a problem, although dry cleaning is not an option.

Jacquard's new Bluetooth tag is also much more elegant. This is a whole system that Google has obviously created to work with many products; Yves Saint Laurent's recently released backpack also uses it. You just need to put the thumb of the thumb-sized device in the appropriate slot in your sleeve and connect it to your phone.

He has a little light that can blink to let you know about different things. This is convenient because it can be difficult to feel the vibrations in your sleeve. It charges via Micro USB (boo) and has a battery that should last as long as the older version, which was much larger.

Commuter Jacket had a clear step two years ago: when on a motor, you should not look at any kind of screen. Instead, just swipe your wrist to do a few simple things. Now that Google and Levi are moving away from the focused step and are just making Jacquard a different version of the same jacket, I have an even harder time figuring out who it is.

The price difference is still over $ 100 (or more, depending on Levi's discounts), for one thing. On the other hand, you are unlikely to wear it every day, much less all day, every day. It seems to me that investing your money in a smart watch makes a lot more sense.

But maybe I can't imagine what people could use this jacket for, or I underestimate how many people are willing to just spend the extra money to get a tech version of something. For some, the novelty of all this may be enough to justify a purchase, but not for me. The jacquard jacket looks good, works well enough and is cheaper than before. This is a solid update on a shaky idea.

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