Facebook and Ray-Ban have just revealed Ray-Ban Stories, their smartglasses that you can use to record photos and videos to share on social media.
Dual 5MP camera
2592×1944 pixels photos
1184×1184 pixels vidoes at 30 frames per second
Automatic brightness adjustment depending on external light
Status LED that lights up when cameras are in use
2x Integrated open-ear speakers
3x Integrated microphones
Memory: capable to store 500+ photos or 30+ 30s videos
Connectivity: 802.11 ac Wi-fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Compatibility: iOS 13, Android 8.1 minimum
Controls: touch, voice
Features of the glasses (Image by Ray-Ban)
Ray-Ban Stories are smart glasses developed by Ray-Ban and Facebook. They are NOT augmented reality glasses and have not even a display, they are more something akin to Snap Spectacles: a product that let you shoot photos and videos from your point of view, and also do something more.
On the product page on Ray-Ban website, we can understand that they let you:
Shoot videos and photos from your point of view. The photo are then transferred to your smartphone, where a companion app lets you organize them, modify them (e.g. apply filters or crop them) and then share them on your social media (Facebook’s social media). For privacy reasons, when the glasses are shooting a video, a little led close to the cameras lights up
Answer to calls that arrive on your smartphone, thanks to integrated speakers and microphone.
Listen to music installed on your phone.
That’s it. A very limited set of features that let you do some operations without having to take your phone out of your pocket.
The glasses come with a portable charging case that can be connected via USB-C to be recharged. When the glasses are put inside the case, they are charged. A full charge of Ray-Ban Stories will let you capture and sync up to 50 videos, or up to 200 photos.
You can control your glasses by swiping and tapping your fingers on the frames, as you could do with Google Glass back in the days.
These glasses must be connected to a nearby phone via Bluetooth to work. On the phone there must be installed the “Facebook View” app, that is defined as the “operating system of the glasses”, and that lets you control your Ray-Ban Stories completely. The app also offers you the possibility of using “Facebook Assistant”, which is able to understand simple vocal commands like:
Take A Photo
Take A Video
so that you can use the main functionalities your glasses without having to take out your phone and even without having to use your hands. Facebook Assistant is only available in English language at the moment.
Facebook has partnered with one of the best glasses brands and in fact, these glasses are beautiful to be seen. They come in 3 different designs: Wayfarer, Round, and Meteor. Each of these designs has 5 possible colors, and can mount inside different lenses. Since these devices have not a screen, the frames of the glasses can mount many different traditional lenses, like fully transparent lenses, black lenses, blue-filtering lenses, etc… Of course all kinds of prescription lenses are supported.
Ray-Ban Stories WayFarer blue with polarized lenses (Image by Ray-Ban)
Ray-Ban Stories cost $299/€329 and can be bought on Ray-Ban website. I tried simulating a purchase, and the website says that the estimated delivery date is September, 16th.
Ray-Ban Stories are for sure beautiful glasses: Ray-Ban design is amazing and these are probably the most good-looking smartglasses I have ever seen. I would wear them in the streets without any problem, I would even think I’m cooler with them on, and I guess most people would never even realize I’m wearing smartglasses.
But this is the only pro I find in them. I was aware these wouldn’t have been AR glasses, but I at least hoped for smart glasses that gave notifications in front of the eyes of the user. Or at least something like the latest generation Spectacles, with live AR filters. Instead, we are looking at something that reminds me of 2014’s Google Glass for what concerns features (I could already shoot beautiful photos with them by saying “Take a picture”… and they even had a display)… or if I have to look to a more recent device, probably to 2nd generation Snap Spectacles.
They are really limited, and personally, I’m not interested in them for that price… probably I would have bought them for $99, just to shoot videos from my point of view when I needed them for my articles and Youtube videos. But at €329, Zuck can keep them. I think many people will do like me: the first three generations of Spectacles had terrible sales, and I don’t know why a similar product created by a brand that takes with it many privacy concerns can sell better.
I think that Zuck knows this: my guess is that this is the first product they created to gain experience in building and selling glasses together with Luxottica, so in the upcoming years they can create the AR ones that will pave the way for our mixed reality future. This is just an appetizer, that I will skip waiting for the main dishes.
(Header image by Ray-Ban)