Meta Plans Second Smart Glasses Generation as First One Flounders

Meta Plans Second Smart Glasses Generation

Last month, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was still optimistic about the metaverse.

Consumers, however, seem less enthusiastic about the devices designed to serve as a herald of the company’s planned virtual world.

The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses that Meta introduced in 2021 have failed to catch fire with the people who buy them, with many of them rarely using the devices, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Thursday (Aug. 3).

Fewer than 10% of the 300,000 pairs of glasses sold by Meta are actively used by their owners, per the report, which cited a company document. The product has also seen a 13% return rate.

Meta has not responded to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

Stories, seen as a key component in Meta’s hardware plans, lets users take photos and listen to music via their glasses frames.

Users had trouble with connectivity, audio, voice commands and battery life, or had difficulty importing media, according to the report.

“We’ll also need to better understand why users stop using their glasses, how to ensure we are encouraging new feature adoption, and ultimately how to keep our users engaged and retained,” the document said, per the report.

Meanwhile, Meta still wants to release a second generation of the glasses either in the fall or next spring, according to the report. While this version will not have augmented reality features, Meta executives see Stories as a precursor to its as-yet-unreleased augmented reality glasses.

Meta’s metaverse ventures have proven costly. In 2022, its Reality Labs unit, home to the Metaverse project, took in $2.2 billion but lost $13.7 billion. Still, Zuckerberg said on an earnings call in July that it’s all part of a complex long-term plan.

PYMNTS Karen Webster wrote earlier this year that most people “don’t want to give up the physical world to live mainly via avatars in a virtual one.”

Instead, she wrote, people would rather “use technology to improve their interactions with people and businesses in the physical world where they live right now.”

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