According to reports by CNBC, Facebook has a super-secret project in the pipeline. Codenamed “Orion” the social media giant has started work on developing augmented reality glasses that are expected to feature a graphic display allowing users to see out of the corners of their eyes, take calls, live stream their positions and more.
Facebook has partnered with Ray-ban’s parent company Luxottica to give the smart glasses a cool frame that will be appealing to the wearer. Luxottica had partnered with Google in 2014 to design, develop and distribute Google Glass. Did you experiment with a pair of Google Glass? Well, if you did you must know how significant it becomes to have lag-free connectivity with minimum downtime, as it is with Cox bundles, in order to fully experience such high-tech futuristic gadgets.
Reportedly the social media giant has been developing its AR glasses at the Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, for the last couple of years. However, it’s not all smooth sailing for Facebook as it ran into a few developmental problems forcing the company to seek help from Luxottica in a bid to make the upcoming smart glasses aesthetically pleasing for the wearer. Facebook is hopeful they’ll be ready for consumers by 2023, 2024 or 2025, though the social media behemoth hasn’t said anything about it yet.
It may be mentioned, Google has also worked with Luxottica on their Glass to enter the world of fashion eyewear but it didn’t work out for the search engine giant. Several reasons were cited for the failure. While it was a great idea, Google Glass’ design somehow looked awkward and unappealing. Not only that, it had safety and health concerns such as not everyone was comfortable with the idea of wearing a gadget constantly emitting carcinogenic radiation so close to the head. While your iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy also emit harmful radiation, they’re not constantly in contact with your face. Another big issue was the built-in camera, which raised privacy and piracy concerns as Google Glass could be recording (making footage of anyone in front) or taking a photo at any time. Moreover, because of its price, it was unsafe wearing it in a crowd or a dark alley.
It didn’t stop there. There wasn’t much progress in the two years following its release and you may recall wearers of Google Glass were called “Explorers”. People began to wonder whether Google Glass was a finished product or still in the prototype stage. Even attempts to market the product failed miserably due to poor development and execution.
To make it worse, it would stop working sometimes during firmware updates while the occasional jumpiness and sluggishness of apps and menus would become frustrating at times.
There are others in the market too like Snapchat’s parent company Snap, with its Spectacles; Florida startup Magic Leap’s Magic Leap One AR glasses; Microsoft, which makes the HoloLens 2 headset; while Apple is also said to be working on a similar product. The problem is none of such devices has appealed to the public so far as they are too bulky on the head.
Let’ see what the company designs for Facebook’s smart glasses as we don’t know what the aesthetic appeal of the frame will be and if it would be as in the case of Google Glass, which people didn’t really take to.
Another feature of Facebook’s smart glasses will allow wearers to control the glasses with a voice assistant along with a ring to input information. It may be mentioned here Focals, the smart glasses by North, which are available now, also come with a controller worn on the finger.
Although hundreds of employees are on the smart glasses project in Redmond, just like Google did with its own Glass device, Facebook is also said to be struggling with reducing the size so consumers will want to buy the device with a long battery life, which will last all day without charging.
Until this venture, smart glasses manufacturers have created a gadget to work alongside a smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity. However, if Facebook thinks it can remove the phone altogether the glasses will have to have their own power source and a more powerful processor.
Rumors also abound that Apple is working on AR smart glasses but as an accessory for the iPhone, not to replace it. Apparently Apple’s latest iOS 13 iPhone software will have code to connect to the AR wearable gadget powered by the iPhone.
Given the timeframe and despite Facebook’s push for standalone eyewear that will offer both processing and connectivity, there may be delays. Just the fact Facebook is struggling with the size of the device to make it more appealing to the user, there’s no guarantee the glasses will be completed on time or ever ship.
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