Meta is preparing a roadmap of AR devices and smartwatches that stretches into the 2030s, according to a new report.
The Verge was treated to full details of an internal presentation to employees that revealed that Meta is going all out on smartglasses and AR as a replacement for the smartphone.
And its smartwatch vision – which we've previously reported, is still on track, is heavily tied to this AR platform, and will be used as an optional 'neural interface' controller.
New Quest 3
A big part of the current focus is additions to the Quest, including a forthcoming Quest 3.
The Verge revealed that Meta has sold 20 million Quests, which is surprising – but less shocking is that the hardware is struggling to keep people engaged.
Smartglasses in 2023, 2025 and 2027
But more interesting is the news on its AR and neural network ambitions.
The report states that Meta sees smartglasses as a replacement for the smartphone, and “the company intends for AR glasses to eventually be worn throughout the day as a replacement for smartphones.”
It plans for a second generation device this year, which is the well-documented launch with Luxottica, as a smart pair of RayBan’s with a camera built in.
But the third-gen is where things get interesting.
This device would “ship with a display that he called a “viewfinder” for viewing incoming text messages, scanning QR codes, and translating text from another language in real-time," according to the report.
It's slated for launch in 2025.
Meta also revealed to employees that this device would have a neural interface for controlling the interface with hand gestures.
Its first pair of true AR glasses – that can do things such as project hologram-like avatars into the wearer's field of view –is still some way off, according to the report.
It’s set to launch a public beta for these in 2027 – so we’re really looking at a technology that will be heading to our faces around the start of the next decade.
Given our experiences trialing the latest smartglasses at MWC 2023, we’d say this feels about right.
Anything that has the power to deliver what we expect visually, such as the Lenovo ThinkReality A3, is still tethered, and extremely heavy to wear.
Likewise, lightweight smartglasses do exist, such as the gorgeous Oppo Air Glass 2. But the user experience is still. O-where near the promise of AR.
As if to stoke as much skepticism as possible about whether Meta is the right company to be delivering on this vision, the report quotes the company’s VP for AR Alex Himel:
“We should be able to run a very good ads business,” he said. “I think it’s easy to imagine how ads would show up in space when you have AR glasses on. Our ability to track conversions, which is where there has been a lot of focus as a company, should also be close to 100 percent.”
We can’t wait.
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