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Meta announces a roadmap for its augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) hardware to the employees in Meta’s Reality Labs division on Tuesday. The company is said to release its first pair of smart glasses with display, in 2025. Meta’s first pair of full-fledged AR glasses is said to release in 2027. These are the very glasses that Mark Zuckerberg hoped would become the “iPhone moment”.
Meta’s Quest 3 headset set to release this year will be thinner and more powerful than the Quest 2 headset, which is $400 less. Mark Rabkin, vice-president, leading VR in Meta, said that the company has sold close to 20 million Quest headsets till date. The first Quest headset was released in 2019.
Meta will be building wrist devices to control AR glasses. Second-generation of Meta’s smart glasses that are equipped with a camera will be released this fall. The first-generation was released in 2021 with Ray-Ban. The third-generation of smart glasses—which will have a viewfinder that will serve multiple functions such as viewing incoming text messages, scanning QR codes and text translation—will be released in 2025. Alex Himel, VP for AR in Meta, said that the glasses will have a “neural interface band” which will allow users to control the glasses with hand movements.
These plans are ambitious for the AR/VR headset segment in spite of having setbacks when it comes to Metaverse adoption. The headset faced shrinking sales last year. In December 2022, VR headset sales fell 2% year-on-year, falling to $1.1 billion. The company had also faced layoffs recently owing to cost-cutting measures—11000 employees were fired in November.
Acknowledging the problems, Mark Rabkin said that the company is struggling to “keep new users engaged” and that the new users are not as engaged as the old ones. The disconnected audience can pose a higher threat to Meta’s hardware device plans. With most of the releases slated for two to four years down the line, Meta is being tenacious with their AR/VR goals.