From Facebook booming business it’s dominated by digital ads, but it also has hardware ambitions beyond virtual reality. During the company’s latest earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said its next product launch would be a pair of Ray-Ban smart glasses.
“The glasses have their iconic form factor and they allow you to do some very cool things,” said the Facebook co-founder. “So I’m excited to put them in the hands of the people and continue to advance the journey towards augmented reality glasses in the future.”
Facebook’s sunglasses have been the subject of rumors since 2019. Back then, sources said. CNBC that Facebook was working with Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica on Augmented reality glasses nicknamed “Orion”. The glasses were billed as a complete phone replacement where you could receive calls, view information, and even stream live broadcasts. That inevitably made comparisons with Google glass (another Luxottica collaboration) instead of the phone Glasses by Snap. Last year, Hugo Barra, then vice president of virtual reality at Facebook Reality Labs, confirmed that the glasses would land in 2021. But we haven’t heard much since then.
For Facebook, glasses are the key to its future. Along with virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) is integral to building the “metaverse,” Zuckerberg said. In the future, Facebook will be transformed into a shared, livable platform that will allow you to “teleport” between different social experiences using virtual reality and augmented reality, Zuckerberg explained.
The term metaverse is the latest buzzword used by Silicon Valley and futurists. While the concept has been around for over a decade, it gained traction after the huge success of multiplayer game creation platforms such as Fortnite Y Roblox. Earlier this week, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella mentioned a “business metaverse” on his company’s earnings call.
For Facebook, the metaverse is more than a passing fad. The company is spending billions to build its shared universe, which will be populated with Facebook users and digital ads, according to Zuckerberg. For it to become a reality, the business needs more people to buy its computer hardware. So the plan is to make those devices more affordable.
“Our business model will not focus primarily on trying to sell devices at a very high price or anything like that, because our mission is to serve as many people as possible,” said Zuckerberg. “So we want to make everything we do as affordable as possible, so that as many people as possible can participate, and then aggravate the size of the digital economy within it. So I’m thinking about this at a high level. “
Sunglasses aren’t the only hardware Facebook is reported to be working on. Various reports have claimed that Facebook is developing a Smart watch with a built-in cellular connection and a detachable screen. Initially, it was believed that the watch would be the first to come out, but it seems that Zuckerberg had other plans.
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Engadget.