The company has plans to launch Ray-Ban Smart Glasses Next Year.
The social media leader, Facebook, has had caught worldwide attention with its launch of Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest. It also grabbed headlines while rebranding its AR and VR efforts as “Facebook Reality Labs.” And taking an extra mile of its immersive reality market, in September, it has announced a partnership with Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban, to release its first pair of smart glasses in 2021. During the opening keynote of its all-virtual Facebook Connect conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that the Luxottica partnership would help accommodate an array of styles and preferences that people might have for the devices. “After spending time with their team and visiting their factory, I knew that they were the right partner for us to help bring the best technology together with the best glasses,” Zuckerberg said in the Livestream.
While this smart glass’ key features have not been revealed to the public yet, Facebook assured that the device would not be classified as an AR device, and it will not have an integrated display of any kind. Further, the details like the product name, specs, software capabilities, pricing, and other information will be shared closer to the 2021 launch.
These smart glasses will be marketed as a Ray-ban-branded product. Sources say the glasses will not have an integrated display but may feature a voice-assistant. The glasses will work by pairing them with a smartphone. It is expected that these glasses may be similar to Snap Spectacles or Amazon Echo frames.
Rocco Basilico, Chief Wearables Officer at EssilorLuxottica, informed, the company is especially proud of its collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future. He added, “Combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers around the globe with technology that has brought the world closer together; we can reset expectations around wearables. We are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world.”
Facebook released a teaser video for the new Ray-Ban smart glasses project here.
During the event, Facebook’s Oculus division also unveiled the next-gen Quest 2 wireless VR headset (US$ 299). This all-in-one, the wireless headset is smaller and lighter than the first-generation Quest. It utilizes the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform and boasts a high-resolution display with 50% more pixels than the first generation. Facebook is also offering an enterprise version of the Quest 2, priced at US$799 per SKU. It comes with an extended two-year warranty, one year of the Oculus for the Business software platform, and premium support.
Zuckerberg also announced that the company plans to release Project Aria, a research device that the company will use to learn as it develops its consumer smart glasses. According to the head of Facebook hardware, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Project Aria glasses will be worn by Facebook employees and contractors around the company’s campus and in public starting in September. He added that the glasses would not have augmented reality features and they are not for sale. However, the device sensors will enable capturing the wearer’s video and audio, as well as their eye-tracking and location information. The glasses’ on-device computing power will then be used to encrypt and store information, when uploaded to separate, designated back-end storage systems, will help researchers at Facebook figure out how AR can work in the real world.
The current Aria prototype is a Wayfarer-like design with thick frames and what appears to be dual cameras posted beside both the lenses.
Facebook had also announced new Oculus for Business resources, including the Oculus for Business ISV Directory. This database lists the more than 600 qualified VR solution providers in the Oculus ISV Program, and it offers filtering and search capabilities to help companies find ISVs by use case, industry vertical, and country.