Meta’s new Ray-Ban smart glasses can take calls, play music, and livestream
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has unveiled an upgraded version of its wearable technology, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, at the recent Connect launch event. This new iteration promises enhanced features and functionalities, building on the foundation set by its predecessor.
Priced from $299 and slated for release on October 17th, the revamped smart glasses have been designed with a dual purpose in mind. Their first function is to serve as a replacement for headphones. They incorporate a personal audio system, reminiscent of Amazon's Echo Frames and the Bose Tempo series, ensuring that the audio is discernible only to the wearer. A significant upgrade is the inclusion of a sophisticated microphone system with five mics, aiming to provide clearer calls and voice commands. This addresses the limitations of the earlier model, the Stories, which struggled in noisy or windy conditions.
The second primary feature of the glasses is their enhanced camera capabilities. Equipped with camera lenses on each right temple, the new model allows users to capture 12-megapixel photos and 1080p videos, a notable improvement over the previous generation. The 32GB internal storage can house approximately 500 photos and 100 30-second videos. All media can be easily synced and disseminated via the Meta View app. A notable addition is the ability for users to livestream directly to Facebook or Instagram with a few simple gestures, though this has sparked some privacy debates.
With this new model, Meta seems to be positioning the smart glasses more towards creators, offering the capability to record while partaking in activities that require both hands. However, there was no mention of a speculated feature that might have allowed viewers to interact with the person recording.
In a continued collaboration with Ray-Ban, the aesthetic appeal of the smart glasses has not been overlooked. They will be available in a range of colours, including "matte jeans" and "caramel", and styles such as the new "Headliner" and the classic "Wayfarer".
Technologically, the glasses are driven by Qualcomm's Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 processor, boasting "on-glass AI". The battery life is projected to span between four to six hours of active use, with the accompanying case offering up to eight additional charges.
While this updated version of the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses showcases advancements over its predecessor, the market's reception remains to be seen. The broader tech industry is watching closely, as the success or failure of such devices could influence the direction of wearable technology in the coming years.