We learned two things about Facebook today. First of all, it is working Project aria, An experimental platform that will eventually lead to a pair of AR glasses that will flow data across your face. Subsequently, we found out that it is in partnership with sunglass manufacturer Ray-Bain to make, we believe, a fancy pair of the company’s signature glasses for consumer use.
Here’s the thing: While it’s clear that AR glasses will eventually reach a mass audience, perhaps even in the next decade, we certainly don’t need a pair of fancy “ARA-Bains” anytime soon. The world does not yet know why he needs AR glasses. This is why these partnerships happen very quickly.
AR Glass does not have a killer use case. As snap spectrum and Amazon’s Eco Frames Proven, the desire to take pictures with your face or to chat with a voice assistant through your glasses is not high on anyone’s list of needs. In addition, Google Glass showed us that a deeply streamlined and trimmed eye interface is fun, but certainly does not meet the mainstream need.
Facebook is also not the party to release them. While we may be wrong, the hardware of traditionally online-only companies is equally terrible. No service company has been able to do the hardware well, except for a few hits from Amazon. Building a walled garden inside a constellation of products works at a company where you are able to iterate on hardware design. Dumped one-off devices in the world usually fail (see also: Facebook portal).
The luxury-first launch model always fails. The Apple Watch only became compelling when it was clear that it was saving lives and Apple doubled down on it, offering heart-touching stories of survivors of heart attacks as they covered 40mm of silicon K was tied on the hunk. They certainly no longer lead with the Hermes partnership.
All of this leads to a simple idea: It’s great that Facebook is experimenting with AR devices, but I doubt that this is the company we’ll buy our first laptop with. There are a lot of business uses for AR, and I can definitely see the value of having a single sheet of high-density information in your eyeball. But we have to do something that really works, not a pair of wafers attached to my waif uncle who keep sharing untouched law posts.