Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed during a quarterly earnings call that the company’s next hardware launch will be the Ray-Ban smart glasses. An exact release date wasn’t specified, but back when Facebook first unveiled them, they stated they were scheduled for a 2021 release.
Facebook unveiled it was partnering up with Ray-Ban and EssilorLuxottica last September to create a pair of smart glasses. We’ve since come to learn that this device won’t offer AR capabilities, suggesting it might be similar to the Echo Frames.
As per the earnings call mention, it looks like Facebook is still on track to release the Ray-Ban smart glasses later this year. Zuckerberg said that “the glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things.”
We wouldn’t expect these to become “a killer product,” for Facebook or in terms of technology, but it’s an interesting proposition coming from the owners of Oculus nonetheless. The biggest difference compared to other smart glasses on the market will probably be in their aesthetics. In the end, these are still glasses, and looks matter. That’s the most likely reason Facebook partnered with Ray-Ban, one of the most popular glasses companies in the world.
About the same time Facebook announced its partnership with Ray-Ban and EssilorLuxottica, the company also revealed it was working on a prototype of AR smart glasses, Project Aria.
As an AR device, these would offer superior intractability over the Ray-Ban ones, allowing users to call a friend and chat with their avatar, get help from a digital assistant capable of detecting road hazards, support you in a meeting, and so on. These would be a more direct rival to Snap’s Spectacles.
As a side note, during the same earnings call, Facebook shared its quarterly revenue increased by 56% and net income by 100%, compared to the same period in 2020. At the moment, Facebook has 2.9 billion active users, a new record for the social network.