Google has revived its Project Jacquard smart clothing integrations, with the addition of a pricey backpack from Yves Saint Laurent.
The Cit-E backpack is a €795 black canvas backpack with some smartphone-controlling smarts built in, and will ship in mid-October.
The backpack is a sleek number, and about as subtle as an Yves Saint Laurent bag comes, missing the YSL branding that normally adorns its more outwardly showy handbags and luggage.
The connected part of the bag comes on one of its shoulder straps - that's where Google's Jacquard is located. The strap can be interacted with in a few ways, including swiping up or down, double tapping, and covering it up. These will control a connected smartphone without the need to get it out of your pocket (or, say, backpack). The strap also has a notification indicator to let you know when alerts arrive.
The last major output from Project Jacquard was the connected Levi's Commuter Jacket, and there are clearly some shared details here despite the intervening years between that jacket's release and now. Both are powered by a removable tag, with the Cit-E bag's slotting into a receiver inside its main pocket. That tag is rated IP54 resistance to water, meaning it'll be fine in rain.
The integration with your phone is basically the same, too - you'll be able to control music playback, Google Maps pings and dismiss notifications. We liked the Levi's jacket we tested, but were more than a little put off by the price hike associated with Google's smart features.
It's interesting to see that Google hasn't abandoned its plans for smart clothing, although time will tell whether this is a false dawn or the start of a more ambitious phase for Project Jacquard. You can pre-order the Cit-E bag now for €795 if you're in Europe, which is a pretty penny for a canvas backpack - the question is, how important is phone-free control to you?
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