Facebook and Ray-Ban’s ‘Stories’ First Smart Glasses Not Breakthrough Devices
But they could go mainstream…..
Facebook and Ray-Ban have officially unveiled their new smartglasses collaboration. This has occurred only a few hours after an earlier Twitter leak that had even divulged the name of the device. Based on the leaked packaging earlier, the smartglasses will, indeed, be referred to as Stories.
Also, based on the leaks, the Stories is indeed a fashionable wearable that will come in multiple colors. The Stories smartglasses will be available in blue, brown, and black. They also include the option to outfit its lenses with different colors including dark grey, brown, polarized dark blue, clear, green as well as clear but with a blue light filter. The Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses can also be ordered with prescription lenses. The Stories frame styles are available not only in Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarer frame but also in other styles including Meteor and Round.
As the leaked images on Twitter had shown, the glasses will, indeed, have two cameras and each of them will be a 5-megapixel camera. The smartglasses will capture high resolution photos of 2592 x 1944 pixels as well as a video resolution of 1184 x 1184 pixels and will record videos at 30 frames per second.
With its tiny cameras, the Stories smart glasses wearer can record up to 30 videos or 500 photos. The glasses also leverage the new Facebook View companion app for Android and iOS which allows the wearer to share their content on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. They can also save the photos and videos on their smartphone’s photo roll.
The Stories have a fairly easy to use interface. To take a photo, a user simply has to tap on the tight arm of the smarttglasses frame. To record a video, they simply hold it down. Alternatively, the Stories wearer can start recording a video by simply saying “Hey Facebook, take a video”.
The Stories has open-ear speakers that enable the wearer to take phone calls or listen to music and to control these experiences using a touch/swipe interface located on the side of the frame’s arm. These functionalities are powered by internal batteries that are chargeable via an included USB-C charging cable.
In a pre-produced video of the launch, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg appeared alongside the chief wearables officer at Ray-Ban’s Rocco Basilico to jointly introduce the device. In the launch video, Zuckerberg states that Facebook considers this “an important step on the road to developing the ultimate augmented reality glasses.”
Facebook’s Ray-Ban’s stories is very similar to the Spectacles smart glasses that Snap initially introduced in 2016. The whole Ray-Ban Stories concept, in fact, looks like something straight out of Snap’s playbook with its Spectacles smart glasses, down to the front-facing LED indicator light on the frames of the smart glasses that lets people know that you are either snapping a photo or a video.
Unlike Snap’s Spectacles, however, the Facebook Ray-Ban Stories also feature a hard “on/off” switch on the device itself. This will come in handy for users wary of an “always listening, always watching” wearable being used in their homes.
Although Ray-Ban Stories duplicates much of the efforts that had been put into Snap’s Spectacles wearables, the Stories smart glasses do have an audio component. The build of the Stories, therefore, resembles something of a combination of the Snap’s Spectacles and Amazon’s Echo Frames. The Stories also feature voice control through Facebook Assistant which moves these wearables closer to the ideal vision of future Augmented Reality smartglasses which will be embedded with a virtual assistant.
Zuckerberg has stated that the launch of the Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses is the first step in Facebook’s bid to realize augmented reality smartglasses. The Ray-Ban Stories aren’t groundbreaking smartglasses but by partnering with a major luxury eyewear brand for the launch, Facebook has broken new ground. The Ray-Ban branding in the smartglasses might just be the key to taking this Facebook wearable into the mainstream market.
Ray-Ban Stories pricing begins from $299 and will go up to $379 depending on the color and lens combination selected. The smartglasses will only be sold in US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Italy, along with Australia.