In Your Face: Ray-Ban and Facebook Are Reportedly Making AR Glasses

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 24: Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc. attends the Viva Tech start-up and technology gathering at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France. The VivaTech exhibition in Paris brings together nearly 1800 start ups alongside the largest international groups. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

Facebook, in its continuing march to own every bit of data in our lives, is working on augmented reality (AR) glasses. This is according to a new report that claims CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company is partnering with popular eyewear brand Ray-Ban's parent company Luxottica, for a pair of specs code-named Orion.

The eyewear, expected to go on sale during the wide window of 2023 and 2025, are being made to obviate the smartphone according to sources speaking with CNBC. Features include taking calls and live-streaming your point of view to your friends and followers. They'd also show you live information on a small display.

This sounds a lot like the promises made by Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, neither of which earned the reaction their parent companies were looking for (though Spectacles 3 are coming soon). 

Microsoft's Hololens mixed reality (MR) headsets are targeted at the enterprise world, while Bose released its own audio-based take on AR glasses, Bose Frames, which are the coolest headphones I own.

Facebook, on the other hand, seems to have a long development window in mind, which could give them enough time to avoid releasing a dud.

More: New evidence of Apple AR glasses emerges

The report also speaks to Facebook's work to make its own voice assistant, its own Siri, or Cortana, which you'd use to input commands into the glasses. Yet another Facebook product, codenamed Agios, is a ring that would allow you to input information with motion.

'Hundreds' of Facebook employees, according to the report, have been chipping away at a potential AR glasses, but struggled with size. The partnership with Ray-Ban appears to be tied to an inability to create a visually pleasing product.

Zuckerberg made these AR glasses a priority for Facebook hardware lead Andrew Bosworth.

Oh, and a recent report also revived rumors of Apple's plans to make AR glasses. Code related to StarBoard, the company's software for an upcoming pair of augmented reality specs was found in iOS 13 recently.  There's even a document in iOS 13 that instructs Apple employees on how to use StarBoard apps without the AR headset.Back in March, Mac rumor prophet Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that production of Apple AR glasses may begin as soon as October 2019, or as late as Q2 2020.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.