Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a grand vision for the metaverse, as evidenced by his renaming of the company.
In Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision, AR (augmented reality) glasses are essential “holy grail” devices that will once again “redefine our relationship with technology” just like the introduction of smartphones. . Through a pair of AR glasses, things in the distance can be brought to life.
When it was announced in October 2021 that Facebook changed its name to Meta, in the special effects video for the Metaverse displayed by Meta, AR glasses acted as the entrance and exit between the real world and the virtual world, allowing people to look like in the movie “Star Trek”. Play and work that way. Zuckerberg also wore AR eyes to play a holographic fencing game at the press conference, and even said “don’t be afraid” to his virtual fencing partner.
Although Zuckerberg has high hopes for the development of smart glasses devices, the actual development of this device is not so satisfactory. For example, in Zuckerberg’s presentation on the metaverse, people played a virtual game of chess on a real table through AR glasses without any additional hardware. However, Meta has not yet developed a prototype of wearable AR glasses other than the demonstration of this application scenario.
Perhaps it is precisely in order to achieve their ambitious metaverse goals as soon as possible that Zuckerberg and his company have begun to plan for high-tech glasses. Meta engineers are reportedly gearing up to catch up with the cut-off point for Meta’s first-generation AR glasses to launch by 2024, and are already developing in parallel with the first-generation AR glasses planned for 2026. The second generation of the glasses, which is lighter and has a more advanced design, is working on the layout for the third generation, which is planned to be launched in 2028.
This series of plans and details is the first comprehensive demonstration of Meta’s ambitions for virtual reality hardware development. The plan was told by a person familiar with the company’s strategy who declined to be named. An official Meta spokesman declined to comment on the news.
The launch of AR glasses may be as important to Meta as the launch of the iPhone is to Apple. If AR glasses and other futuristic hardware meta eventually catch on with the Metaverse, they could give Meta a new look.
The social networking giant’s reputation has been badly damaged in recent years, along with employee morale and confidence in leadership, as a result of a series of privacy and content-tampering scandals.
The internal code name for Meta’s AR glasses project is said to be Project Nazare. Another important significance of the Nazare project for Meta is that it is a way to get rid of the control of Apple and Google. At present, the terms that almost all applications on mobile phones, including Facebook, must abide by are jointly decided by the two companies. of.
It is reported that the first version of AR glasses in the Nazare project is designed to work independently without a mobile phone. Part of the computing work required for the operation of AR glasses is carried by a wireless, mobile phone-shaped device lock. The AR glasses in the Nazare project will have a feature called a large screen through which people can communicate and interact with other people’s holograms. Zuckerberg believes that with the passage of time and the development of technology, it will provide People are offering a more immersive and engaging calling experience than current video calls.
Meta has already put a lot of effort into the display of its first AR glasses. Each display of the AR glasses is reported to be powered by an expensive custom waveguide, equipped with tiny LED projectors, and can also play stereo audio in the frame of the glasses. It is also said that the glasses are equipped with eye tracking and an external camera, but considering the many previous Meta scandals in terms of privacy, this setting may cause many people to question.
The field of view of the first generation of AR glasses may not be so brilliant, it is reported that the field of view is less than 70 degrees. The Oculus Quest 2, one of the most popular virtual reality glasses, has an 89-degree field of view, and other, more expensive glasses like the Valve Index have a field of view of up to 130 degrees.
In addition, the battery life is said to be only 4 hours, so for now these glasses should only be designed for indoor use. The glasses may also be bundled with a control wristband that Meta introduced last year.
Although Meta has a lot of expectations for AR glasses, it is reported that the company does not expect the first AR glasses to be a big seller. It is reported that Meta has spent billions of dollars in the development of AR glasses, but the company’s internal sales expectations for the first-generation glasses are very low, only tens of thousands of units.
The first-generation AR glasses are mainly aimed at developers and early users, and the price has not been given yet. But if you factor in the AR glasses, which already cost thousands of dollars in materials, you can expect the device to be more expensive than the $299 Oculus Quest VR.
However, another possibility is not ruled out, that is, the company may sell AR glasses at a loss and sell them at a price below cost. This will mostly be done to win more early consumers while denting the profits of other rival companies such as Apple.