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Facebook smart glasses are coming soon — but there's a catch

Facebook smart glasses
(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook smart glasses are scheduled to debut sometime in 2021, according to the company's hardware chief. However, the wearables will not support mixed reality features like the rumored Apple Glasses in their first iteration.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Facebook hardware chief Andrew Bosworth said the glasses will arrive "sooner rather than later," but won't offer AR technology that overlays digital images in real-world environments. 

“These are certainly connected glasses, they are certainly providing a lot of functionality, [but] we’re being quite coy about which functionality precisely we are providing,” Bosworth told Bloomberg. “We’re just calling it smart glasses."

During September's Oculus Connect event, where the company debuted its new Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Facebook announced its creating smart glasses in partnership with sunglasses brand Ray-Ban. At the time, Bosworth called the project "the first truly fashionable smart glasses."

The current prototype features a Wayfarer-like design with thick frames, as well as dual cameras posted beside both lenses.

facebook smart glasses

(Image credit: Facebook)

Though this design isn't official, it seems Facebook's smart glasses will perform similarly to Snapchat Spectacles, which have been received more as a novelty item than practical, everyday lenses. That said, Facebook's platform has a strong presence in the photo- and memory-capturing community, including its Portal smart display division.

In fact, Bosworth highlighted 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.” he said.

Facebook is one of several companies committed to launching everyday smart glasses, though at this rate it could be the first of the major players to hit the market. Google reportedly has a pair in the works, while Samsung has filed smart glasses patents of its own. Of course, there's already excitement about Apple Glasses, which are coming 2023 "at the earliest," according to a previous report from Bloomberg.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.