For now, Meta seems to be sticking with plans to release a second-generation version of the Ray-Bay Stories smart glasses, and a new report says that they will support live streaming and will even “whisper” comments on the stream into the user’s ear.
In his Lowpass newsletter, tech journalist Janko Roettgers says he’s seen internal documents that showed him what was coming for the next generation Meta smartglasses which will continue to be produced in tandem with Essilor Luxottica, the largest glasses manufacturer on the planet (which also recently inked a long-term deal with Kodak).
Roettgers says that existing models of the glasses will be phased out and the new line will include several new frame options in addition to some new features. Firstly, the glasses are supposedly going to support live streaming.
“Users will be able to live stream directly to Facebook and Instagram with the device. There’s no word on support for other services at this point,” Roettgers says.
As is tradition with live streams, wearers are going to be able to communicate with their audience but in a way that leverages the unique aspect of smart glasses: as The Verge puts it, the glasses will “whisper” comments into the ear of the wearer.
“Live streamers will be able to directly communicate with their audience, with the glasses relaying comments via audio over the built-in headphones,” Roettgers reports. “Meta has in the past leaned on Instagram influencers to promote Ray-Ban Stories, and this new feature could be a pretty big draw for that crowd.”
The current-edition Meta Ray-Ban Stories glasses do allow wearers to take photos and videos but they don’t support live streaming. That might be one of the core reasons Meta is internally pointing at to explain why the glasses haven’t maintained popularity among those who purchased them.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that while the smart glasses sold decently well when they released nearly two years ago, over time they have not maintained that popularity and fewer than 10% of those who purchased a pair of Ray-Ban Stories continue to use them now. Initial reports said that Meta believed the prime culprits behind the poor continued use were poor connectivity and low battery life, but perhaps the lack of interactive features like live streaming is also to blame.
Roettgers adds that Meta is planning to specifically address privacy concerns that were raised with the first-generation glasses. The company admitted last summer that the glasses posed a privacy risk, especially since the only indication that the glasses are actively recording is a small LED which users were able to tape over or otherwise block. This next-generation series will apparently not allow photos or videos to be captured if the LED has been tampered with.
Meta has not officially said that it is even pursuing a sequel to the Ray-Ban Stories and even if it is, plans can change. For example, the company invested heavily in its Portal products which have since been put out to pasture and it was also working on a smartwatch project that it shuttered before it even got close to release.
Image credits: Meta