The first version of Meta’s AR glasses is only for developers

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Meta has decided not to sell the first version of its full-fledged AR goggles, codenamed Orion, but instead distribute them to developers so they can build software experiences for the device and future versions, one person told me. who is familiar with the matter. The edge† The company is also shelving plans to release a smartwatch with a detachable display and dual cameras in favor of a design better suited to operate a later version of the glasses.

The first version of the AR glasses, which has been in development for three years, would always target developers and early adopters, but executives hadn’t decided until now whether to sell them widely, the person said. Employees of Meta’s Reality Labs division that build VR and AR hardware were notified of the decision this week. The information reported first Thursday’s news.

As The edge Meta is detailed in April and is working on three iterations of standalone AR goggles that will debut in the coming years. The decision not to sell version one was made because the device costs thousands of dollars to build and executives believe that certain specs, such as screen brightness, are not consumer-ready. Not selling the glasses to consumers mimics the approach taken by Snap, which also doesn’t sell its AR Spectacles glasses, but instead gives them to software developers.

Version two of the glasses, codenamed Artemis, remains on track for a higher production volume consumer release with a less bulky design and more advanced display technology. Meta also plans to release another entry-level, lower-cost version of AR glasses next year, codenamed Hypernova, which will pair with a nearby phone to display incoming messages and other notifications through smaller heads. up display.

In addition to not selling its first pair of standalone AR glasses, Meta this week decided to cancel its planned dual-camera smartwatch, mainly because the detachable display design made it difficult to implement EMG technology to control the upcoming AR glasses with brain signals. Meta sees having a first device with EMG technology as crucial to driving its planned lineup of goggles, and it has turned to focus entirely on a design that better supports EMG on the wrist. That movement along with photos of the canned device was first reported by Bloomberg

A spokesperson for Meta would not comment on this story beyond this tweet from CTO Andrew Bosworth, who said the company will be “shipping wrist wearables and AR glasses that bring completely new technology” to the world:

These changes, along with the planned shift to market its Portal video chat device to businesses, all come as Meta reassess its spending on projects amid a brutal inventory drop. Later this year, the company still plans to introduce a high-end mixed reality headset, codenamed Cambria, to take over Apple’s planned headset.


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