Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses: Livestreaming, headphone-replacement eyeglasses

Meta’s smart glasses are no longer called “Stories”. Now they are simply called smart glasses. Technically, the new models just announced by Meta are called Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, and the company will happily correct you whenever you call these something else, but these are just smart glasses. No ifs and buts or weird names about it.

The new glasses, which Meta just announced at its Connect launch event and which are up for preorder now and will go on sale on October 17th starting at $299, have two primary purposes. The first is to replace your headphones: Smart glasses have a similar personal audio system to Amazon’s Echo Frames and the Bose Tempo series, which all play music but try to make sure only you can hear it. Along with the new generation of glasses, Meta has also massively upgraded the microphone system: The specs feature five mics, one of which is in the bridge of the nose, making both your calls and voice commands clearer. (The Stories had only one mic, and it would break in high winds or high winds.)

The second function of the glasses is as a camera. The smart glasses, like the Stories, have small camera lenses on each right temple — but these cameras take 12-megapixel photos and 1080p video, both big upgrades from the previous generation. You can store about 500 photos and 100 30-second videos (that’s the glasses’ maximum length) before the 32GB of internal storage fills up, and everything syncs through the Meta View app. The app also lets you instantly share anything you capture across Meta’s many sharing platforms.

In addition to taking photos and videos on the camera, you can now also start a livestream to Facebook or Instagram with just a few taps on the stem of the glasses. When you are recording, a white light around the lens indicates that you are recording.

Adding livestreaming adds to the product’s already serious privacy concerns. This is one of Meta’s attempts to answer the big question surrounding all smart glasses: What are you supposed to do with them? Meta reportedly struggled to maintain users’ interest in wearing its Stories, with over 90 percent of buyers eventually abandoning their devices.

Last time, Meta’s big pitch was messaging; This time, it is introducing the smart glasses as a creator tool, so you can cook, play drums or do many two-handed activities while recording. A report earlier this year said the glasses would also let viewers talk to you, but Meta didn’t mention that capability.

The new Headliner style is more like the rounded Wayfarer.
Image: Meta

In fact, any pair of smart glasses has to do one thing first: look good. To that end, Meta and Ray-Ban created smart glasses in a bunch of new colors with names like “matte jeans” and “caramel” and multiple lens options. Both companies also created a new style called the Headliner in addition to the classic Wayfarer.

It all runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 processor, which Qualcomm claims has “on-glass AI” in a sub-one-watt package, and Meta says the battery inside the smart glasses is powered by Should last between four to six hours of use. (And when they die, you know, they’re just glasses.) The included case can charge the smart glasses an additional eight times.

The smart glasses that Meta plans to release at the end of this decade aren’t the screened, all-seeing smart glasses, but it looks like they’re a better option to stay in users’ faces this year, the better. Because of both looks and looks. Because they let you do so much more with your glasses. It’s hard to know whether “audio systems in your glasses” or “cameras on your face” will prove successful, but a surprising number of companies in the tech sector are betting that at least one of them could be successful. And what if they just happen to be a good looking pair of shades? This is quite a good result.

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