Facebook eyes 2023 launch for smart glasses project

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Zuckerberg has reportedly asked that the project be made a priority.
Photo: Facebook

Apple’s long-rumored AR glasses project could get some competition from the world’s biggest social network company.

Facebook is reportedly developing its own augmented reality glasses. The social network recently struck a partnership with Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica to speed the product along, according to a new report.

The Facebook glasses project goes by the internal code name “Orion,” according to CNBC. Early versions of the project would take calls, show information on the lenses, and let wearers live-stream video from cameras embedded in the frame. Facebook is also working on its own voice assistant like Siri, which could be used as the main input for the glasses.

Unlike Apple’s glasses, which are rumored to be iPhone accessories, Facebook supposedly plans to completely replace smartphones with its spectacles.

Facebook’s smart glasses project

Hundreds of employees reportedly work on the project at Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington. The company’s AR glasses, in development for a few years already, remain top-secret. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently considers the smart glasses a top priority for the company. However, Facebook engineers reportedly find themselves struggling to shrink the glasses into a form factor people would actually want to wear.

Over the past few years, rumors of Apple AR glasses floated around the internet. Code in recent iOS 13 betas revealed that Apple is already building support for AR headsets into iOS. The first Apple headset could launch as soon as next year.

Facebook’s AR glasses project won’t launch until sometime between 2023 and 2025, if at all. The company reportedly continues work on a wearable ring device called “Agios.” It would act as an input device and motion sensor for the glasses.

Augmented reality headsets could become the hot new battleground for the biggest tech companies. Microsoft already showed off early versions of its promising HoloLens headsets. Snap keeps iterating on its Spectacle glasses. Meanwhile, Magic Leap and Google also keep investing heavily in the tech.