Facebook has been working for years on augmented reality (AR) glasses, and it recently teamed up with Ray-Ban maker Luxottica to help prepare for a possible release between 2023 and 2025, according to a report by CNBC.
The glasses, code-named Orion, are being designed to eventually replace smartphones by allowing wearers to answer calls, see digital information in the lenses and stream live from their location.
Facebook is also reportedly working on a voice assistant as well as a ring, code-named Agios, that would serve as a peripheral to the glasses. Hundreds of workers have been developing the glasses, but have reportedly been having trouble making it small enough for people to want to wear it.
Although there is no guarantee that the glasses will actually be released, Mark Zuckerberg has shown personal interest in the devices, as he asked his hardware chief, Andrew Bosworth, to make them a priority.
Many other companies also believe AR will be the next wave in computing. Snapchat offers its Spectacles glasses, Microsoft has already created the HoloLens 2 headset and Apple is reportedly working on a similar product.
Luxottica is the umbrella company that owns Ray-Ban, Oakley and a few other sunglasses brands. In 2014, the company partnered with Google on the design and distribution of Google Glass, which did not catch on.
Facebook could be facing an uphill battle in releasing the glasses, especially since it has been the subject of various antitrust and privacy probes recently, and was levied a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Even the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said the antitrust probes into Facebook don’t have any common case studies to draw from in deciding how to move forward. “It’s an entirely different way of dealing with a monopoly,” Moody said. “We will continue to share information [with the other states and D.C.] as we work through this investigation. Depending upon what we ultimately find, that may indicate how we further collaborate.”