Facebook has announced its first pair of smartglasses and there's serious Snap Spectacles vibes about the connected eyewear.
The Ray-Ban Stories, built in collaboration with luxury eywear brand EssilorLuxxotica, pack cameras to capture and share first person shot videos and also include speakers and microphones to listen to music and handle phone calls.
That makes it a mix of Snap's Spectacles and the host of audio sunglasses that have surfaced over the last few years.
In the announcement video (which you can watch below), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his belief that glasses will play an important part of building the next computing platform.
Zuckerberg revealed that the glasses host two, 5-megapixel cameras, which are activated by a button that sits on the side of the frame. It's a single tap to record up to 30 seconds of video or a tap and hold to snap a picture. There's also hand-free controls letting you make use of onboard microphones to say, 'Hey, Facebook, take a video' if you don't want to reach up to your specs.
When you're recording or taking pictures, a small LED situated near the camera illuminates to indicate to those around you that you are in recording or snapping mode. There's switch to turn them off too, which will also turn off speakers and microphones.
On the listening front, they include two open ear speakers to handle listening to audio playing from your phone or to handle calls.
In terms of storage, Zuckerberg says you can expect to be able to store around 30 videos or 500 photos, which are kept encrypted on the glasses.
They stay encrypted until you sync them over to a new Facebook View companion smartphone app. You'll be able to share vids and stills to Facebook of course as well as WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. They'll also live in your phone's camera roll too.
All of that tech is being wrapped up in some familiar Ray-Ban frames, which include the iconic Wayfarer, and will apparently only add 5g over a non-smart pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer glasses. There will be 20 style variations of and they will support prescription lenses. There's also additional Round and Meteor frames available too.
They're compatible with Android and iOS devices, include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and come with a charging case too.
The Ray-Ban Stories are available to buy now with pricing starting at $299. Snap's latest generation Spectacles are priced at $380 while the latest generation Bose Frames audio sunglasses come in below $300.
These camera, mic and speaker-toting specs are of course a very different proposition to Facebook's Project Aria, the research project the company announced in 2020 tasked with building wearable augmented devices.
The Stories certainly aren't those augmented reality specs yet, but as we've seen with Snap, it may well be the start of what Zuckerberg believes will be the next computing platform where we no longer need to stare into our phone screens.