On a recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company’s next hardware launch will be its long-awaited Ray-Ban “smart glasses.” It’s unknown when the glasses will arrive. We last heard they were planning to start in 2021, but the pandemic has disrupted several companies’ plans, and Zuckerberg declined to comment on a timeline.
“Looking ahead here, our next product launch will be the debut of our first smart glasses from Ray-Ban in collaboration with EssilorLuxottica,” said Zuckerberg. “The glasses have a distinctive shape and allow you to do some really cool things.”
We have no idea what those “neat things” are, while Facebook has previously stated that the glasses will not have an integrated display and will not be considered an augmented reality gadget. Will they be able to talk on the phone? Will they be able to use a virtual assistant? It’s unclear. They will apparently rely on an associated smartphone app for controls, akin to Snap Spectacles or Amazon’s Echo Frames, despite the lack of an inbuilt display.
The Ray-Ban glasses are part of Facebook’s “road towards full augmented reality spectacles in the future,” according to Zuckerberg. For a long time, the corporation has been developing such a device, channeling efforts through its Project Aria research unit and even making prototype AR spectacles, as seen above.
Facebook’s new plans to construct the “metaverse” — a multi-modal technological platform that would merge virtual and actual places and be used for commerce, work, and socializing — include augmented reality glasses. Of course, Facebook will utilize it to sell additional advertising space. “[A]ds are going to continue to be an important element of the strategy across the social media parts of what we do, and it will probably be a big part of the metaverse too,” Zuckerberg said on the same earnings call this week.
That’s something to keep in mind if you start wearing a computer created by Facebook on your face every day.