Facebook joins the AR race, with smart Ray Ban specs due in 2021

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Facebook has entered the AR glasses arms race, and has announced a partnership with Ray Ban that will see glasses on faces in 2021.

The company is pumping money into Project Aria, via its Facebook Reality Labs – a new reference and research platform, which the company hopes will yield a pair of consumer AR glasses.

The company admits that a true AR product might be some way off, but its medium term plans are much more modest.

Facebook has announced a partnership with Ray Ban to create a pair of smartglasses for release in 2021, but haven’t yet disclosed what they will do.

We reported on rumors back in 2019 that Facebook was working on a glasses project with Luxottica, and it seems the fruits of that partnership aren’t far away.

However, Facebook has ruled out the use of AR or any kind of display on the Ray Ban partnership – so that pretty much leaves a Snap Spectacles style device, possibly with cameras. Or so we think. We can already hear the privacy arguments already.

Of course, Facebook is just one company lining up to take a run at AR.

Google’s long journey with Glass is testament to that, but it has bought North, one of the few companies to make headway with a consumer AR product.

And Apple has been dabbling in the space, with constant rumors of a pair of Apple AR specs – which has been evident via personnel hires.

But it still feels that the consumer AR dream of a seamlessly connected virtual and real world experience is far, far away.

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