Facebook is working with Ray-Ban manufacturer Luxottica to create “the next generation of smart glasses”. The announcement came on Wednesday during Facebook’s annual AR / VR conference. The glasses will be launched in 2021.
The partnership with Ray-Ban is separate from Facebook’s wearable AR research prototype, Project Aria, which the company will be testing with a limited number of employees and contractors later this month.
“We’re passionate about researching devices that can help people better connect with those around them,” said Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s Reality Labs, in a press release. “Wearables have the potential to do that.”
We are also happy to finally get a glimpse of our Facebook partnership with Ray-Ban! Our first smart glasses will hit the market next year and this is just the beginning … the future will be a classic and it comes in 2021 ???? pic.twitter.com/l9992ZQGoy
& mdash; Hugo Barra (@hbarra) September 16, 2020
The glasses will contain Facebook’s apps and other technologies. However, there is still a lot of information available about the glasses, how much they cost and what they will be called. We know Facebook is aiming to make its smart glasses attractive to the general public, not just those interested in wearables, by partnering with Ray-Ban to make regular sunglasses feel like high-tech.
A video announcing the partnership between the two companies didn’t reveal much about what the glasses will look like, but did give the impression that instead of being clunky or “flashy,” they are iconic – like a classic pair of specs, who can be seen on the website like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
“We are particularly proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects a cult brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future,” said Rocco Basilico, head of wearables at Luxottica. “By combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers around the world with technology that has brought the world closer together, we can reset expectations of wearables.”
Facebook Reality Labs is a relatively new division for the company. It was launched in 2018 to begin work on AR / VR development at both Oculus and the video conferencing platform Portal.
Facebook’s leap into wearable glasses is lagging behind its competitors – other big tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple have already released AR glasses or previously stated that they are working on newer iterations.