More Quest 3, less AR glasses: Meta shifts product focus – report

Image: Meta (Meta employee with displayless research device “Project Aria”)

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Meta’s AR glasses had top priority. After the recent postponement, timely products are said to be more important again.

Bringing powerful yet stylish AR glasses to market: that is Meta’s ultimate goal. Mark Zuckerberg even called such devices the “holy grail”. The hope is that Meta will usher in the iPhone augmented reality era, breaking free from the smartphone ecosystems dominated by Apple and Google with a revolutionary device.

The AR glasses project is internally called Nazare and has Zuckerberg’s full attention. Employees should therefore also refer to Project Nazare as “Sauron’s Eye”. All of this shows how important the development of AR glasses is for Mark Zuckerberg and his company.

Meta is shifting the AR revolution

Now it is extremely difficult to build a technically impressive and at the same time light and fashionable AR glasses, as Meta himself repeatedly emphasizes.

According to a roadmap leak, three generations of the device were scheduled for 2024, 2026 and 2028. But in June it was said that the first version (codename: Orion) would no longer be commercialized and would instead be distributed free of charge to developers. The market launch would only start with the second version (code name: Artemis) in year 2026 take place.

It was one of several postponements related to technical challenges and austerity measures. The result is the same: Meta again postpones the augmented reality revolution for years. A smartwatch project was also scrapped.


Increased focus on timely products

These cancellations were a major setback for the development teams, reports leaker Brad Lynch, citing sources close to the company.

Meta has so far focused more on the development of Project Nazare and cheaper and technically simpler data glasses codenamed Hypernova than on the upcoming VR headset Meta Quest 3, Lynch writes on his website.

But that is beginning to change. Because the technology for advanced AR glasses is still years away, Meta is again more concerned with marketing products that are “much more likely” than the long-term projects.

However, augmented reality is still important for Meta: The upcoming Cambria headset has a strong AR component and the Hypernova data glasses, which will be released next year according to The Verge, still play a large role in Meta’s AR wearables plan. Lynch expects the device to be similar to Qualcomm’s AR reference design. This is indicated by finds in the latest Quest firmware.

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