Facebook and Ray-Ban Debut ‘Stories’ Smart Glasses With Facebook Voice Assistant
Facebook and Ray-Ban have released a new line of smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories controlled by the Facebook Assistant voice assistant. The two companies have been rumored to be collaborating on voice-controlled smart glasses, although the resulting focus on taking photos and videos is not what was anticipated.
The Ray-Ban Stories are patterned after a few of the sunglass maker’s famous designs, like the Wayfarer and Round, and Meteor. Facebook and Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica seem to have agreed that the branding should be all Ray-Ban, with Facebook only coming up when it comes to the technological components of the devices. The glasses include a camera that can take photos and 30-second videos, as well as microphones and speakers for recording audio and conducting phone calls.
The device is paired with a new companion mobile app for iOS and Android called Facebook View. The Facebook Assistant can be used to run the glasses by voice and there’s a button to operate the camera. To reduce privacy concerns, an LED shines every time the glasses start recording photos or video, and actually uploading images and video to social media means using the mobile app on a smartphone. The glasses can be clear, tinted, or able to switch between the two, and can come with prescription lenses. The Stories cost $300, to begin with, though the choice of lenses can affect the final bill.
“Ray-Ban Stories is designed to help people live in the moment and stay connected to the people they are with and the people they wish they were with,” Facebook Reality Labs vice president Andrew Bosworth said in a statement. “EssilorLuxottica has been nothing short of stellar in this partnership and through their commitment to excellence we were able to deliver on both style and substance in a way that will redefine the expectations of smart glasses. We’re introducing an entirely new way for people to stay connected to the world around them and truly be present in life’s most important moments, and to look good while doing it.”
The Stories smart glasses are a far cry from the rumored augmented reality smart glasses Facebook and Ray-Ban have been rumored to be working on for a few years. These smart glasses, code-named Orion, were supposed to replace smartphones with AR, including displaying information on the lenses and come with a motion sensor ring named Agios. On the other hand, Orion’s timeline to come to market extended to 2025, so it could theoretically still be in the works. Facebook and EssilorLuxottica have signed a multi-year agreement that hints at more smart devices to come. That the marketing materials keep referring to Stories as ‘first-generation’ is certainly suggestive, and EssilorLuxotticais making noises in that direction with how they discuss the new smart glasses
“This is a milestone product that proves consumers don’t have to choose between technology and fashion – they can live in the moment and stay connected while wearing their favorite style of Ray-Ban’s,” EssilorLuxottica chief wearables officer Rocco Basilico said in a statement. “Our unique approach, combining decades of superior craftsmanship, a dedicated spirit of innovation and a commitment to delivering only cutting edge technology has resulted in a wearable that people will truly love wearing.”