EssilorLuxottica and Facebook plan to launch a pair of Ray-Ban branded smart glasses in 2021.
The two companies have entered a multiyear collaboration to develop the next generation of smart glasses. The announcement was made by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of the online social media group, during Facebook Connect, an annual conference held virtually from California.
“The partnership will combine Facebook apps and technologies, Luxottica’s category leadership and iconic brands, and Essilor’s advanced lens technology to help people stay better connected to their friends and family,” the companies said in a statement.
They added that product name, specs, software capabilities, pricing, and other details will be shared closer to the launch date.
A partnership between the two groups was largely expected after Zuckerberg visited Luxottica’s main Italian manufacturing site in Agordo in May 2019 and met Essilux’s executive chairman, and founder of Luxottica, Leonardo Del Vecchio.
In 2014, Luxottica had entered a smart glass development agreement with Google but it yielded few results. In the same year, it also entered a research and development collaboration program with Intel, the manufacturer of microprocessors that is also based in California.
In the meantime, Google is going its own way. In July, it acquired the Canadian smart glasses producer, North, for an undisclosed sum.
The U.S. technology group discontinued production of its consumer Google Glass product in 2015 and focused on business users since then. But, the North acquisition has led to speculation it could re-enter the consumer segment.