Ray Ban

It’s been two years since reports began to emerge of an unlikely sounding Facebook and Ray-Ban collaboration, but CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that this will be the company’s next product.

The revelation came during Facebook’s second quarter earnings call, where Zuckerberg touched upon upcoming products. “Looking ahead here, the next product release will be the launch of our first smart glasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with EssilorLuxottica,” he said.

If that sounds like a segway to a big reveal, you’re about to be disappointed, as Zuckerberg didn’t have much more to add other than that they will have an “iconic form factor” and let owners do “some pretty neat things” which could mean pretty much anything. 

“I’m excited to get those into people’s hands and to continue to make progress on the journey toward full augmented reality glasses in the future,” he added, before moving on to other things.

So what do we know about the Facebook smart glasses? Well, we’re not looking at something like Google Glass. Last year, the company confirmed to The Verge that “the device will not be classified as an AR device” – despite Zuckerberg suggesting AR is the destination of the company’s journey above –  “and it will not have an integrated display of any kind.”

Around the same time, Hugo Barra – then Facebook’s VP of Reality Labs Partnerships – tweeted a teaser promising the collaboration would be “classic”, “iconic” and “just the beginning.”

Barra, a former Google and Xiaomi executive, wouldn’t see this future play out himself however, as he ended up leaving the company in May.

Functionality is still up in the air then, but in terms of form it sounds like Facebook will be looking for something that hides its tech credentials – like Bose Frames, Snapchat’s Spectacles or Amazon’s Echo Frames.

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In terms of hardware releases, Facebook has a patchy track record. Few would argue that the Oculus Quest 2 is anything but a triumph, but Facebook Portal has proven less successful. After these smart glasses, it’s strongly suspected that the company will be working on its own Facebook smartwatch. 

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