Shade

Facebook unveils its first smart glasses, designed by Ray-Ban: why un-branding is key

Friday, September 10, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Throwing major shade... First, Facebook copied (aka: #Zucked) Snap's stories on Insta. Then, FB announced plans to launch a smartglass rival to Snap Spectacles. Yesterday, FB unveiled those smartglasses — and they're called "Stories." FB teamed up with Italian glasses giant Luxottica to launch Ray-Ban branded glasses. FB's first smart glasses are about everything the selfie stick isn't: first-person perspective.

  • Capture: Say "Hey Facebook" or press a button to shoot photos and videos (up to 30 secs). Tiny lights let others know when you're recording. Not included: AR features.
  • Post: Share content to social apps like Insta and TikTok through the FB View App, or save to your camera roll. FB is envisioning Latte Art tutorials.
  • Hear: Listen to music or take phone calls from open-ear speakers.
  • Pay: Stories start at $299 — in the same range as luxury "dumb" glasses. They'll be available in 20 style combos online and in stores like LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut.

Lab goggle vibes... Smart glasses are Big Tech's holy grail, but all efforts have flopped so far: "Google Glass" was an epic fail. Snap lost $40M on 300K unsold AR Spectacles. But FB's smart glasses have one key advantage: they don't look like smart glasses.

  • Italian style: Luxottica’s chief wearable officer Rocco Basilico, who cold emailed Zuck about the glasses collab, says Stories aren't just a tech gadget, "but something sexy.” Peep this snazzy video, starring Basilico and Zuck.
  • American dreams: FB hopes to expand Stories into AR, overlaying graphics onto IRL vision. One day, FB hopes AR glasses will be as widely used as smartphones.
THE TAKEAWAY

FB’s big opportunity = unbranding itself... Stories look like Ray-Bans, not FB-branded gadgets — unlike FB's other hardware, Oculus and Portal. While FB supplies the tech, Ray-Ban handles the design and sales — a key difference from other tech-designed smart glasses. FB has admitted it has a public "trust deficit." By partnering with a well-loved brand, FB is giving Stories a higher chance of success.