For years now, Facebook has been making efforts to branch out beyond social networking. At one point in time, the company tried to topple the smartphone market with its own phone, which swiftly failed. Nowadays, Facebook owns Oculus and is enjoying success in the VR space and now the next step appears to be augmented reality hardware.
Apple, Microsoft, Google and other tech giants are also working on AR technology. Microsoft and Google in particular took two very different approaches, with the former creating a full AR headset and the latter opting to develop ‘Smart Glasses’. Facebook will be following Google’s approach, opting to create glasses with a built in display and the ability to do many of the same functions we normally use a smartphone for today.
According to sources speaking with CNBC, Facebook’s AR glasses are being made in partnership with Ray-Ban and are codenamed ‘Orion’. The project apparently aims to ‘replace smartphones’ by creating a wearable AR device that can take calls, show relevant notifications to users, film point-of-view video and features its own digital assistant for voice commands.
Not all interaction will be delivered through the glasses though, Facebook is apparently considering a touch-sensitive ring that will act as a controller. For now, the project is still under wraps and in development with no guaranteed release. However, Zuckerburg apparently does want to start shipping these between 2023 and 2025.
KitGuru Says: Replacing smartphones with Augmented Reality glasses is an ambitious goal but it doesn’t seem like we’ll get to that point any time soon. In the meantime, Facebook is going to be trying to figure it out anyway, although there is also the chance that this project never makes it all the way to the consumer market.