Finally, Google will release their new smart glasses this year, although it doesn’t have an actual AR technology. Digital objects won’t be overlaid on the glasses, but these are still connected glasses with various functionality. Facebook announced the development of AR glasses about four years ago. The social media giant has incorporated various camera features that project digital images. In recent years, Facebook has acquired Oculus, a popular VR start-up. The company launched Portal, a video device. There are 6,000 employees involved AR, VR and other device developments, which are more than the team assigned for WhatsApp and Instagram. Smart glasses are an effort of the company to have more presence in the digital sector. Alphabet’s Google is also known for its intention to develop and release smart glasses. Unfortunately, Google Glass failed to catch the attention of masses. Many smaller companies, like Snap Inc., has launched their own versions of smart glasses, but none are popular in the market.
We could appreciate the fact that Facebook is reluctant to keep our hopes high. Their smart glasses are still in the stages of development. The company simply said that these wearables “will arrive sooner than later”. These glasses will be developed in cooperation with Luxottica, the owner of Ray Ban brand. Details will be revealed soon and Facebook is being coy regarding the actual functionality of the device. Although officials from Facebook said that they are excited about the device, they prefer not to over-hype it. It could feel like a let-down, because Facebook doesn’t call the glasses augmented devices. Among the functional benefits of these glasses would be the ability to capture moments. It is certainly useful for parents who want to capture their memories and experiences with loved ones. In some situations, it is more convenient to snap pictures or record videos with glasses, because by the time you pick up the phone, you will lose the precious moment. It appears that Facebook glasses have similarities with Snapchat’s Spectacles.
Snapchat’s Spectacles are fashionable sunglasses that have integrated digital camera. They also allow you to capture moments when you see them. This wearable is Snapchat’s first foray into the AR sector, despite the technical limitations that slowed down the development phase. It is possible that Facebook is also experiencing similar issue, especially with the subsequent waves of COVID-19 in North America and Europe. Problems are affecting the entire digital sectors. Microsoft and Sony are having problems to meet demand. Their production can keep up, because there are delays in acquiring components due to the pandemic-related issues. This could be a reason why Facebook is reluctant to reveal too much detail, because there’s an element of uncertainty in the development and planned release of the device. In VR sector, Facebook is gaining a lot of grounds, especially with the well-accepted Oculus Quest 2. Many people are interested to use VR at home for gaming and other purposes during the pandemic situation. Inability to go outside home in many areas could contribute to more limited acceptance of AR technology in 2020.