Social media giant Facebook is joining forces with EssilorLuxottica to develop smartglasses under its Ray-Ban brand.
Facebook CEO Mr Mark Zuckerberg announced the multiyear collaboration with the Franco-Italian eyewear company in mid-September during Facebook Connect, an annual conference held virtually from California.
According to EssilorLuxottica, the partnership will combine Facebook apps and technologies with Luxottica’s well-known frames brands and Essilor’s advanced lens technology with the aim of improving connectivity between people.
The first product will be branded Ray-Ban, one of the world’s most recognisable eyewear brands, and is scheduled to launch in 2021.
With bulky designs being a common drawback in current smartglasses designs, the companies claim they will combine innovative technology and fashion-forward style to create a product that consumers like wearing.
“We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them,” Mr Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, said.
“Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses.”
Mr Rocco Basilico is the chief wearables officer at Luxottica. He is proud of the collaboration, which he said will project an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future.
“Combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers around the globe with technology that has brought the world closer together, we can reset expectations around wearables. We are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world,” he said.
Commentators say the move is further evidence of Facebook’s ambition to extend beyond social networking and into hardware development.
The name of the smartglasses, specifications, software capabilities, pricing, and other details will be shared closer to launch in 2021.