Facebook on Thursday launched its long-awaited Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses that let users snap photos and videos, listen to music and take phone calls.
The high-tech specs, which were built in partnership with France-based Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica, start at $299 and are available for purchase online and in stores in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK, Facebook said.
Users can take photos and up to 30-second videos through the smart glasses with voice commands or by pressing a button on the right side of the glasses.
An LED light flashes to let people know when a photo or video is being taken.
The glasses also feature Bluetooth, small speakers and a built-in microphone — so wearers can pair the futuristic frames with their smartphone and listen to music or take phone calls.
A new Facebook View app will allow users to save content on their phone or share it on social media.
The smart glasses are available in 20 combinations, including classic Ray-Ban styles like Wayfarer, Wayfarer Large, Round and Meteor.
It’s also available in five colors and a range of lenses including clear, sun, transition and prescription.
Paris-listed shares of EssilorLuxottica were last seen trading 0.4 percent higher at about $170 per share, an all-time high. Facebook stock was up slightly in mid-day trading.
It’s the latest example of Facebook rolling out its own hardware as the social media company looks to expand. It could also serve as a step toward Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a so-called Metaverse that would rely on people wearing devices.
“You can kind of think about this as an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,” Zuckerberg has said of the Metaverse. “We believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile Internet.”
“The defining quality of the metaverse is presence, which is this feeling that you’re really there with another person or in another place,” he added.
“Creation, avatars, and digital objects are going to be central to how we express ourselves, and this is going to lead to entirely new experiences and economic opportunities.”
Facebook isn’t the first to launch social media-connected glasses. Snapchat launched its first Spectacles devices in 2016 and Google launched its Google Glass devices three years earlier, in 2013.