Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will release its Ray-Ban 'smart glasses'

Mark Zuckerberg confirms Facebook will release its long-awaited Ray-Ban ‘smart glasses’ as part of his plans to become a ‘metaverse company’

  • Mark Zuckerberg confirmed Facebook will launch a pair of smart glasses
  • The firm is working with Ray-Bans to use its iconic form factor
  • The smart glasses are part of Facebook’s plan to become a metaverse company 
  • This is a virtual worlds where people can work and play all day 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant’s next product release – the long-rumored Ray-Ban ‘smart glasses.’

The reveal was made during an earnings call on Wednesday, where Zuckerberg also mentioned the hardware is ‘part of a much larger goal to help build the metaverse.’

‘It’s a virtual environment. We can be present with people in digital spaces. And you can kind of think about this is an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,’ Zuckerberg said as an explanation for what the metaverse is.

‘And we believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile Internet.’ 

The glasses are set to be a key player in creating this virtual world, but unlike previous devices – Google’s failed Google Glass, for example – Facebook plans to utilize Ray-Ban’s iconic form factor.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant’s next product release – the long-rumored Ray-Ban ‘smart glasses.’ The reveal was made during an earnings call this week, where Zuckerberg also mentioned the hardware is ‘part of a much larger goal to help build the metaverse’

Google pioneered the smart glasses industry, releasing its Google Glass in 2014.

However, the device fell flat among consumers  because its creators failed because the creators neglected to define and validate the users and what it was solving for them.

Google Glass did get a second life when it was adopted by doctors working in hospitals, allowing them to discover serious conditions in patients and conduct tasks while keeping their hands free. 

Snapchat parent company Snap also released its own smart glasses in 2016 called Spectacles, but were never really picked up by consumers. 

The glasses are set to be a key player in creating this virtual world, but unlike previous devices – Google’s failed Google Glass – Facebook plans to utilize Ray-Ban’s iconic form factor

Google was the pioneer in smart glasses, releasing its Google Glass in 2014. However, the device fell flat among consumers because its creators failed because the creators neglected to define and validate the users and what it was solving for them 

Discussions about Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses first surfaced in 2019 when sources told CNBC that the firm was working with Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica on AR eyewear nicknamed ‘Orion.’ 

Although Zuckerberg did not mention the name of the upcoming eyewear, he confirmed the partnership with EssilorLuxottica during this week’s call. 

The smart glasses, along with Oculus’ Quest VR headset,  are Facebook’s stepping stones to transition into a metaverse company, rather than being just a social media platform, Zuckerberg explained.

Snapchat has also released its own in 2016 called Spectacles, but the technology also failed

Consumers will be able to access the virtual world ‘from all different devices and different levels of fidelity from apps on phones and PCs to immersive virtual and augmented reality devices,’ said Zuckerberg.

‘In many ways, the metaverse is the ultimate expression of social technology,’ he added. 

‘Some of the experiences that I’ve dreamed of building since well before I started Facebook are only starting to become possible now.’ 

Zuckerberg told The Verge last week that he sees the metaverse coming together in the next five years.  

Although the concept sounds like something out of science fiction, The New York Times recently detailed some areas where the ‘metaverse’ is already starting to happen, including Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing, or video games such as Roblox and Fortnite, all of which can be played on mobile devices and game consoles. 

Discussions about Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses first surfaced in 2019 when sources told CNBC that the firm was working with Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica on AR eyewear nicknamed ‘Orion.’ Pictured is an early prototype of Facebook’s smart glasses

Zuckerberg’s vision is that all of the aforementioned devices combine into a ‘persistent, synchronous environment where we can be together,’ resulting in a ‘hybrid’ between today’s social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and an environment where you can ‘be’ present, even if you are not physically there. 

Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, touches on the subject. 

After a fictionalized worldwide economic collapse outlined in the book, the US has been broken up into different regions owned by powerful organizations and entrepreneurs who use their regions for various purposes, often nefarious in nature. 

People spend much of their time in the ‘Metaverse’, a virtual multi-player world where people own virtual homes, visit ‘bars’ and go celebrity spotting. Stephenson is credited with creating the ‘metaverse’ phrase as a successor to the internet.

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