Meta has scaled back its plans to release a series of augmented reality goggles over the next several years as part of an effort to cut back on the huge investment it’s spending across its augmented and virtual reality lab division.
The company decided not to sell the first version of its augmented reality glasses, codenamed Orion.
The company instead intends to distribute it to developers so they can build software experiences for the device and future releases.
The company also suspended plans for a smartwatch with a detachable screen and two cameras in favor of a design more convenient to control a later version of the glasses.
The first version of augmented reality glasses, which has been in development for three years, was aimed at developers and early adopters. But executives haven’t decided whether to sell it on a large scale yet.
Employees working in the Reality Labs division, which builds virtual and augmented reality devices, were informed of the decision this week.
Meta is developing three versions of standalone augmented reality glasses that are supposed to debut over the next several years.
The decision was made not to sell the first version because the device costs thousands of dollars to build and executives believe that some specifications, such as screen brightness, are not consumer ready.
Not selling the glasses to consumers emulates Snap, which also doesn’t sell Spectacles but instead gives them to developers.
The second version of the glasses, codenamed Artemis, is still on its way to a consumer version with a higher production volume with a slimmer design and more advanced display technology.
Mita has canceled the development of its smartwatch with dual cameras
Meta is still planning to release a cheaper version of the augmented reality glasses as early as next year. These glasses bear the code name Hypernova. It is supposed to be linked to a nearby phone to display incoming messages and other notifications through a smaller display.
In addition to not selling its first standalone augmented reality glasses, the company decided this week to cancel its two-camera smartwatch.
This is because the monitor’s detachable design makes it difficult to implement the EMG technique. This technology is important for controlling incoming augmented reality glasses via brain signals.
Meta sees having the first EMG-equipped device to be critical to controlling the planned range of eyeglasses. It has moved entirely to focus on a design that better supports EMG.
The company’s chief technology officer , Andrew Bosworth, said in a tweet : “We are heading to market with wearables and augmented reality glasses that deliver entirely new technology – such as electromyography – to market.” The path to pioneering products is not a straight line. As is common in our industry, we produce multiple prototypes in parallel and transfer resources as we learn.
The changes come as Meta reassess its spending on projects amid a sharp decline in stocks. The company also plans to market the Portal range of video chatting devices to companies.
Meta is still planning to release a high-end mixed reality headset later this year. Codenamed Cambria, these glasses come as a competitor to Apple’s planned headset.