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Ray Ban Tales, Meta’s First Foray Into Digital Wearables, Fails to Catch On With Customers
Which it claims can be part of its broader metaverse imaginative and prescient. However actually, the metaverse is VR, and AR is a complete completely different factor, irrespective of how Meta tries to conflate the 2, within the hopes of claiming general tech sector management.
Meta’s large hope in AR is its AR glasses, that are at present scheduled for launch in 2027. However with the intention to acclimatize the marketplace for that subsequent stage, it’s already launched its first glasses mannequin, in Ray Ban Tales, that are Meta’s try to create a modern digital gadget, which additionally gives some connective performance.
However to date, they haven’t been successful.
In line with a brand new report from The Verge, over 90% of Ray Ban Tales customers have stopped utilizing the gadget since shopping for the glasses.
As per The Verge:
“Inner firm paperwork reveal that round 27,000 of the 300,000 models reportedly offered between September 2021 and February 2023 are nonetheless being repeatedly used every month. Final April, Meta was reported to have offered simply 120,000 pairs of the Ray-Ban Tales – lower than half its 300,000 purpose at the moment.”
So of the 300,000 pairs offered, solely a fraction are nonetheless seeing common use, with the restricted characteristic set, which allows you to take footage, hearken to music, reply telephone calls, and so on., seemingly not catching on with a large viewers.
Which isn’t shocking. Again in 2016, Snapchat launched the primary iteration of its Spectacles camera-equipped sun shades, that are functionally similar to Meta’s Ray Ban Tales gadget.
And nobody cared.
Properly, that’s not completely right. Snap did see a rush of early gross sales hype, which led to it shifting over 150k models. But it surely additionally overestimated demand, leaving it with “lots of of hundreds” of unsold Spectacles sitting in warehouses a yr after launch.
That preliminary miscalculation ended up costing Snap over $40 million in losses, which means that round 300k Spectacles had been by no means offered in that preliminary manufacturing run.
But Snap is nonetheless promoting them, and it’s nonetheless sticking with the idea, which seemingly factors to a future iteration of the glasses that might be absolutely AR-equipped, although Snap has reportedly been pressured to rethink some its AR plans as a consequence of rising prices, and decrease advert consumption.
Meta has additionally scaled again its AR timeline, each via cost-cutting and manufacturing missteps, with its acquisition of microLED maker Plessey failing to ship the advance that it hoped for its AR gadget.
They’re not polished but, they usually’re not prepared for the subsequent stage of full industrial availability. However each corporations are engaged on the subsequent stage, which can put digital overlays onto your real-world view.
As such, it’s laborious to know what to remove from the preliminary response to Ray Ban Tales.
I imply, it’s an attention-grabbing venture, however it additionally appears unlikely that Meta would anticipate big gross sales from this primary iteration of the gadget, which, on steadiness, is just not a serious useful leap over others available in the market.
Technically, they’re much more superior, however by way of what you’ll be able to truly do with them, they’re not approach past what Spectacles has lengthy offered. So I don’t know that Meta was actually making an attempt to push these as a serious providing, or whether or not this was at all times going to be simply the primary minor step in an extended AR improvement pipeline.
It looks as if Meta actually wanted to construct a manufacturing pipeline, and set up partnerships for the longer term, and Ray Ban Tales is simply the early precursor to what comes subsequent.
Certainly, The Verge additionally notes that, regardless of the losses, Meta’s nonetheless planning to launch a second-gen model of Ray Ban Tales subsequent yr, because it continues to maneuver in direction of the AR future.
So whereas its preliminary foray into digitally-equipped glasses hasn’t caught on, perhaps Meta sees this as a crucial stepping stone for that subsequent stage.