Most of Meta’s XR Spending Going into Developing AR Glasses
More than 50% of Meta’s current XR spending is being channeled into developing augmented reality glasses.
According to a Reuters report, Zuckerberg gave Meta employees a rundown of its expenditures during an all-hands meeting held last week. Zuckerberg revealed that 20% of Meta’s total budget was spent on the company’s AR/VR division, Reality Labs.
50% of the spending at Reality Labs is on research and development work for augmented reality glasses. Approximately 40% of the spending is going into virtual reality and about 10% into first-party (in-house) like Horizon Worlds. It is generally assumed that most of Meta’s XR spending is going into Horizon and it is a surprise revelation that the company’s metaverse platform is taking up just 10% of its XR spending.
Zuckerberg also revealed that Meta’s smart glasses products currently under development will start appearing “over the next few years” with true AR glasses likely to hit the market later in the decade. Zuckerberg described the company’s effort in this area as “the most challenging work” but believes it is “the most valuable potential part of the work over time.”
Meta has also collaborated with the luxury eyewear manufacturer on the Ray-Ban Stories camera glasses that shipped last year. The camera glasses enable users to snap first-person photos and videos hands-free. The Ray-Ban Stories don’t have a display. However, in October this year, Meta and Luxottica announced that they are collaborating on new smart glasses. The Information has previously reported that Meta is planning to launch second-generation Stories in 2023. The Verge has also reported Meta’s plans of launching smart glasses featuring a heads-up display in 2024 which have been codenamed Hypernova. It isn’t clear if these reports are referring to the same glasses.
During the Connect conference in 2021, Meta announced Project Nazare which it described as the company’s “first full augmented reality glasses”. The Information and The Verge reported that the Project Nazare was originally scheduled to be shipped in 2024 as a consumer product but those plans had been canceled. Consequently, the Nazare AR glasses will now be issued as a developer kit and the second generation of this device which has been codenamed Artemis will be launched commercially in 2026.
It has been reported that Meta’s augmented reality glasses will be bundled with its neural wristband which will serve as the input device for the glasses. Meta has been openly talking about the development of augmented reality glasses. The device will read the neural signals (sent from the user’s arm and brain) through electromyography (EMG).
The wristband is also capable of tracking finger movements before they even happen. It can perceive very subtle finger gestures that may not be clearly perceptible to other people close by. In a recent interview, Zuckerberg stated that by 2028, the wristband could be as capable as a keyboard for input functions.
Meta’s work on augmented reality now spans eight years and the company is still the biggest investor in this technological frontier. Zuckerberg is keen on seeing the company’s augmented reality glasses currently under development ushering a new “iPhone moment” according to sources.