During Facebook’s recent earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the company’s next hardware release will debut the tech giant’s collaboration with Ray-Ban eyewear on a pair of augmented reality glasses.
The long-awaited Ray-Ban “smart glasses” were supposed to launch in 2021. However, as a steep plunge in COVID-19 cases forced most of the world into a lockdown, a lot of tech firm’s plans changed.
“Looking ahead here, the next product release will be the launch of our first smart glasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with EssilorLuxottica,” Facebook head and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “The glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things.”
The “neat things” Zuckerberg is talking about remains a mystery. However, the smart glasses concept came up while Zuckerberg was describing his outlook on Facebook’s future, which includes a virtual reality unlike no other.
“I’m excited to get these into people’s hands and to continue to make progress on the journey towards full augmented reality glasses in the future,” Zuckerberg expressed.
Considering Zuckerberg’s comments on the release didn’t satisfy tech fan’s curiosity, CNET spoke with Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s head of AR/VR hardware, who explained that they’re indeed smart glasses, but not AR glasses as Facebook has said so far.
“We’re being careful not to call them augmented reality glasses. When you’re overlaying digital artifacts onto the world, that’s really augmented reality. These aren’t augmented reality glasses. However, they do a lot of the concepts we think will eventually be critical for augmented reality glasses,” Bosworth said.
The features of the smart glasses aren’t all unique. However, as much as it’s ironic to state, Bosworth made it clear that one of the things Facebook is looking at for all their AR, starting with the smart glasses, is how can they help users be more present.
This isn’t the first attempt a major tech company produces smart glasses, as Google did quite a stir back in 2014 following the release of “Google Glass,” which was a bold move, but failed nonetheless.
The idea seemed exciting, but eventually transformed into an online meme. Besides, many weren’t keen with the idea of having a tech tool constantly emitting radiations at face level.
The road to actual AR glasses could take more time than anticipated, while other tech giants hunt after similar goals.
The Ray-Ban glasses coming this year will be a steppingstone into Zuckerberg’s “metaverse” vision for Facebook, but they likely won’t do as much as we’d like to believe.