Meta is almost ready to start demoing its AR glasses, and they sound amazing

Meta is almost ready to start demoing its AR glasses, and they sound amazing
*Header image is referential, showcasing the Xreal Air 2. | Image credit — PhoneArena

We’ve known for a while now that Meta has been working on a pair of AI-powered AR smart glasses allegedly codenamed Project Nazare. But now it turns out that the company is very close to beginning demonstrations of the prototype, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Meta has been investing heavily in the XR (Extended Reality) industry for years now. Zuckerberg truly believes that XR is the next big thing, and I’m inclined to agree. It just seems like the natural progression from smartphones. And Meta is trying its best to capitalize on the industry before it takes off properly. Zuckerberg even told investors to be patient, and that these investments will pay off in the next decade, something supported by a predicted growth of the AR and VR industries.

The idea behind AR (Augmented Reality) glasses is the much more compact form factor, which is more appealing to consumers. Most people aren’t willing to wear bulky headsets out in public. And when AI took off, Meta began to incorporate it into their glasses. The company also took lessons from the Meta-powered Ray-Ban smart glasses, which also recently received Meta AI support.

From what we’ve been told, these glasses have a much wider field of view than other AR glasses. Caitlin Kalinowski, Meta’s Head of AR Glasses Hardware, said that nothing prepares people for the field of view these glasses have. And Zuckerberg echoed this statement in his recent interview with Kane Sutter.

— Mark Zuckerberg (CEO at Meta), Kane Sutter interview, June 2024

Now, obviously, this could just be marketing hype. But I do believe Meta is on to something big here. The Meta Quest 3 is an excellent headset, and the company has been continuously improving it with each update. Meta also refused to give up on Horizon Worlds, which was heavily ridiculed at launch. Now it is one of the most used apps on the Quest platform.

And speaking of the Quest platform, Meta rebranded it to Horizon OS and made it available to third parties. This way Meta has incentivized other manufacturers to jump into XR while also retaining a lot of control over the devices they release on the market. Asus and Lenovo are already working on XR devices that will be powered by Meta’s Horizon OS.

But wait, there’s more!

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At this point, Quest 3 is an early gateway into the future Meta is creating. | Video credit — Meta

During the interview, Zuckerberg also brought up the Meta neural wristband. A prototype of this was teased a long time ago but it just seemed like something that was decades away. But according to how Zuckerberg talked about it, it seems like it’s part of the AR glasses package.

He said that the neural wristband was “wild”. Zuckerberg also said that it would only improve over time as newer iterations of it came to the market. That suggests that perhaps the wristband hasn’t been perfected yet but will launch alongside the glasses nevertheless.

So, when are these glasses actually launching? No clue, for now. Zuckerberg said that a prototype was ready but would not be sold en masse. This prototype will only be used for demonstrations until a consumer version has been made.

If a demonstrable prototype is ready, then we can’t be too far off from a consumer version. And demoing the glasses is sure to get people hyped about it. Now all that remains to be seen is how much these glasses will cost.

And if their cost is something the average consumer can afford, they might just be one of, if not the best AR glasses ever made. I have my fingers tightly crossed that this is finally what propels XR to the prestige smartphones enjoy today.
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