Facebook, Ray-Ban partner on smart glasses

Facebook’s hotly-anticipated smart glasses are tipped to be the company’s next consumer device, as confirmed on Wednesday by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook’s second-quarter earnings meeting.

Zuckerberg stopped short of providing any exact detail around when we could expect a pair of Facebook smart specs, but he noted that the next product release from the brand would be the firm’s first pair of first smart glasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with EssilorLuxottica.

Ever since the initial CNBC report that tipped Facebook partnering with a luxury brand to develop smart glasses, you may have been wondering what such a pair of smart specs may look like in the flesh. While Zuckerberg stopped short of providing any concrete detail around when we could expect a pair of Facebook smart specs, he noted that the device will look like a regular pair of glasses — something we think is a smart move.

The Facebook CEO went on to explain that “the glasses have their iconic form factor and they let you do some pretty neat things.” Again, there’s no detail on what these “pretty neat things” could refer to exactly, with any info around the product confined to our imagination for now.

Beyond thrilled to finally share a sneak peek of our Facebook partnership with Ray-Ban! Our first smart glasses will launch next year, and that’s just the beginning… The future will be a classic and it’s coming in 2021 😎 pic.twitter.com/l9992ZQGoySeptember 16, 2020

Regardless of the lack of detail around the device’s possible features, previous comments from the social media firm to The Verge noted two things: first, “that the device will not be classified as an Augmented Reality (AR) device,” and that the glasses “will not have an integrated display of any kind.” Instead, these glasses are a sort of stopgap between a fully-fledged pair of AR specs with a luxury fashion edge.  

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Though these supposed smart glasses aren’t considered to offer the full AR experience, the project is still part of Facebook Reality Labs (FRL). This is the company’s research sector for XR technologies, meaning any learnings could help contribute to a pair of fully AR-enabled smart glasses like the lightweight AR glasses Facebook is testing at the moment, which is codenamed Project Aria.

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