It's been known that Facebook smart glasses have been in the works for a while now, but I never imagined it'd be something I'd want to wear. New renders of the upcoming frames might've just changed that.
Ahead of an expected reveal later today (September 9,) notorious leaker Evan Blass shared more than a dozen images of the alleged "Facebook x Ray-Ban" glasses to Twitter. Flaunted in an array of colors and shapes, they look like your averagely stylish Ray-Bans with tiny cameras embedded in the top corners of frame next to the hinges, plus a small button near the right temple.
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pic.twitter.com/XJKrM5TyiLSeptember 9, 2021
The frames also look familiar. The failed Snapchat Spectacles introduced the design concept — glasses with cameras built into the forward-facing frame — but it took an overstated approach. You could spot the larger, yellow-outlined camera lenses on the first-generation pair from far away.
On these Facebook smart glasses, though, the lenses so subtle that I didn't see them the first time I scrolled through the series of renders. That's a good thing.
Also unlike Spectacles, the camera-packed Ray-Bans come in a considerable variety of hues and frame shapes. By my count, there are at least four color options in up to three different frame shapes. That means shoppers could choose from at least 12 configurations to match their personal style.
Design remains a major obstacle for smart glasses, AR-capable or not. At the end of the day. no one wants to wear a chunky, cyborg-like headset out and about. OK, I shouldn't say no one. That actually sounds pretty cool to me, but I know average consumer probably wouldn't agree.
If Blass's renders are accurate, Facebook smart glasses could let shoppers upgrade their average Wayfarer, Round and Meteor-shaped Ray-Bans to ones capable of capturing the world around them. From what I can tell, the frames are as slim as the designer's non-smart options I've been wearing for years.
Better yet, I don't see Facebook branding slathered on the smart frames. You couldn't tell Facebook is a part of the product at all, if not for a logo on the box. Additional accessories apparently include a protective case, charging cable and drawstring bag.
Facebook Ray-Ban smart glasses: What we know
What will Facebook's smart glasses do? While the design certainly seems more palatable, Facebook's smart glasses functionality will likely mimic Snapchat Spectacles. Spectacles have been cast off as novelty item instead of practical, everyday lenses.
That said, Facebook's platform maintains a strong presence in the photo- and memory-capturing community. It also continues to promote the Facebook Portal smart display, regularly tacking on features user might've found useful during stay-at-home orders.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company's smart glasses will “let you do some pretty neat things” in Facebook's July earnings call, but also confirmed they will not offer AR on-board.
Earlier this year, Facebook hardware chief Andrew Bosworth also said we wouldn't see AR abilities, but noted parents recording moments in their children's lives as a Facebook smart glasses application scenario to Bloomberg.
“By the time you get the phone up, not only have you probably missed it, but if you don’t miss it, you’re probably watching the real event but through your phone.” Bosworth said.
We should all learn more later today. Facebook and Ray-Ban both promised an announcement will take place on September 9th. No time is specified, so keep it locked to Tom's Guide for the latest on these new smart glasses.