Facebook says its first pair of consumer “smart glasses” will be releasing next year as a branded Ray-Ban product, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during the opening keynote of its all-virtual Facebook Connect conference. It’s not clear what features the device will have, but Facebook has confirmed to The Verge that the device will not be classified as an AR device, and it will not have an integrated display of any kind. That suggests they may be closer to something like Snap Spectacles or perhaps Amazon’s Echo Frames.
Facebook says the consumer smart glasses will be one step in its overall work on AR, which now includes experimental research prototype it’s calling Project Aria, which is more like a full-fledged pair of AR glasses it sounds like. Starting this month, Facebook says the company will start testing Aria in the real world with Facebook employees and contractors to hammer out tough issues around areas like privacy, video recording, and design.
The company has talked for years about its plans to build AR devices that resemble a standard pair of glasses, and the company is now working with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica to design the frames of its first consumer smart glasses, confirming rumors last fall that the company had partnered with the Italian eyewear brand.
“We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses,” Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of the Reality Labs division, said in a statement.