09 Sep 2021: Ray-Ban teases launch date of Facebook's smart glasses
Rumors about Facebook's smart glasses have been afloat since January. We finally have reason to believe the rumors are true and Facebook is indeed developing smart glasses, although the AR capability remains questionable. Eyewear major Ray-Ban recently teased a product launch in collaboration with Facebook slated for September 9. These could be the new smart glasses. Here are more details.
Origins: Facebook first mentioned 'connected glasses' project in January
In January, Facebook's Vice-President of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) Andrew Bosworth had revealed that the social media giant's smart glasses would be launching "sooner than later" in 2021. Media reports chose to refer to the product as AR glasses, but Facebook preferred to refer to them as "connected glasses"—probably to play it safe. The partnership with Ray-Ban was revealed in 2020.
Metaverse: New glasses could be element of Zuckerberg's grand metaverse plans
Since January, a lot has changed. Facebook founder-CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on the record to say he envisions Facebook transitioning from a social media company to "a metaverse company." Changes in the organization's structure to this effect were made as well. Transitioning to a metaverse puts the spotlight back on AR and VR hardware that the company has been developing alongside the Oculus range.
Speculation: Facebook could start with simple product, teaser doesn't reveal much
Ray-Ban's teaser webpage doesn't reveal much besides the launch date. That said, we believe that Facebook could possibly start with a simple product like the Google Glass or the Snapchat Spectacles to gauge market interest. If the product is well-received, later iterations could sport more immersive AR and VR features in sync with Zuckerberg's metaverse vision. For now, these are just "connected glasses."
Best foot forward: Will the new Facebook wearable's battery life be a handicap?
Additionally, Zuckerberg and Bosworth have been tweeting out videos recorded from a first-person perspective recently. The collections of short video clips are uncannily stable but could have been recorded using the new glasses. If that is the case, at least we know it can shoot Full-HD videos. However, the short clips could be because of the known battery life limitations associated with such wearables.
Fact: Bosworth's collection of video clips filmed from first-person perspective
Novelty product?: Facebook gave staffers prototypes to determine possible use cases
Interestingly, Facebook also gave some of its staff prototypes of a device called Project Aria to understand how commoners would use smart glasses in real life. Battery life is a constraint-induced by design and is something manufacturers could eventually eliminate with advances in battery technology. The bigger challenge of how people use smart glasses remains. And, it has reduced glasses to a niche product.
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