In an example of life imitating cheesy sci-fi art, Facebook is partnering with EssilorLuxottica, an multinational corporation that owns Ray-Ban and Oakley among other brands, to create a line of smart glasses. The first pair will debut next year and will carry the Ray-Ban logo, according to a press release on the EssilorLuxottica website.
The news was first delivered by Zuck himself at the recent Facebook Connect conference. “I can’t go into full product details yet, but they’re gonna be the next step on the road to augmented reality glasses, and they look pretty good too,” the Facebook CEO said.
He added that “The goal here is to develop some normal-size, nice-looking glasses that you can wear all day, interact with holograms, digital objects and information while still being present with the people in the world around you.”
Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Facebook Reality Labs, said the goal is to make it easier for people to connect with their friends and family—because it’s really not easy enough to connect now with text messaging, video calls and more traditional technologies like 1800 numbers. No, we need glasses that double as phones too.
“We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them,” Bosworth stated. “Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses.”
Rocco Basilico, Chief Wearables Officer at Luxottica, said the partnership is intended to “reset expectations around wearables.”
“We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future. Combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers around the globe with technology that has brought the world closer together, we can reset expectations around wearables.
“We are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world.”
Specs and pricing have not been made available as of this writing.