Facebook smart glasses will launch this year — but it's not what you expect

Facebook smart glasses
(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook is poised to launch smart glasses later this year, but it won't be the AR-immersed, tech marvel you may expect. Facebook's smart glasses, according to Bloomberg, will have device-connection capabilities, but it won't overlay digital elements in real-world settings.

The social media giant wants to ensure that it does not oversell and underdeliver. "We’re excited about it, but we don’t want to over-hype it," Facebook Hardware Chief Andrew Bosworth said. "We’re not even calling it augmented reality. We’re just calling it 'smart glasses.'"

Facebook smart glasses are coming sooner than you think

Wireless earbuds and headphones are the new, fashionable tech craze that took over the morning commute, but by 2022, perhaps smart glasses might become the hot new trend to replace AirPods — and Facebook wants to be the à la mode eyeglass brand that everyone wears.

The social-media tech giant publicly announced its plans for AR glasses in 2017. However, according to Facebook, current AR technology isn't catching up to the grand vision the company has for AR eyewear. "Many of the technologies needed to deliver on the promise of AR glasses don’t exist yet — and our team is hard at work to make them a reality," Facebook admitted last August.

Last fall, Facebook announced its partnership with EssilorLuxottica, the makers of Ray-Ban glasses. The social-media tech giant plans to release Ray-Ban-branded smart glasses this year, but Bosworth reiterated to Bloomberg that it won't be AR-supported eyewear.

“These are certainly connected glasses, they are certainly providing a lot of functionality, [but] we’re being quite coy about which functionality precisely we are providing," Bosworth said. Bosworth didn't divulge how Facebook's smart glasses will function, but he promised that the device will align with Facebook's broader mission around AR, which is to create tech eyewear that enhances human interaction and augments "presence."

Facebook has been a dominating force in social VR space thanks to its Oculus Quest headset line (I've even experienced VR dating using the Quest 2), so I have high expectations for Facebook's upcoming smart glasses. Mark Zuckerberg better watch out, though — Apple is working on its own set of AR smart glasses this year, too.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!