Meta Platforms recently shared its plans for the next generation of products for the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets during a meeting with the staff of its Reality Labs unit.
According to information shared by attendees with the tech-focused online magazine The Verge, it is Meta’s ultimate goal to replace smartphones with wearable AR/VR devices and they expect that this paradigm may become dominant by 2027.
The Next Quest Model Will Be More Powerful but Also More Expensive
The next step from Meta at this point would be the release of the Quest 3 device – a more expensive version of the current Quest 2 that could be released later this year and that should be thinner and more powerful in terms of the kind of experience it can provide to users.
Thus far, Meta has reportedly sold more than 20 million Quest headsets according to a presentation shown to employees by Meta’s Vice President of VR, Mark Rabkin. One of the most interesting talking points about the upcoming Quest 3 was that the company needs to make a concerted effort to get people to spend more on this device.
According to The Verge, Rabkin commented that Meta Platforms (META) has to “prove to people” that the Quest 3 is powerful enough to justify the price increase and get them to give it a try. One of the hurdles that the developing team must overcome is the odd feeling that people may get when wearing the device while performing ordinary tasks.
In this regard, Rabkin reportedly emphasized that engineers need to make the experience quite seamless by allowing users to “effortlessly” walk around, interact with their surroundings, and go through their routines without being discomforted by the weight or shape of the mixed reality gear they are wearing.
Currently, the price of the Quest 2 Pro starts at $1,500, which makes it a high-end electronic device that only a small group of consumers can afford or are willing to spend on. It will not be until 2024 when Meta should supposedly release a more affordable version of the product to “pack the biggest punch we can at the most attractive price point in the VR consumer market”, Rabkin stated.
Another priority for Meta at this point is to keep users engaged with the devices they have recently acquired. In this regard, Rabkin commented during his presentation that those who bought the Quest 2 at Christmas were not too fired up about it and hinted that usage metrics are not what Meta expected at this point.
Meta’s AR Plans Include Neural Links and New Generations of Smart Glasses
As for its augmented reality (AR) initiatives, Meta is still laser-focused on creating a pair of glasses that people can wear throughout the day to ultimately replace smartphones. This is a titanic task that Meta is still quite far from achieving but it has been deemed by the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as the “holy grail” of consumer electronics at this point.
Meta plans to release the second generation of the smart glasses it created in collaboration with Luxottica at some point in the last quarter of the year. The firm ultimately plans to create neural connections between a smartwatch and these smart glasses to allow users to control what they see by using the device they are wearing on their wrists.
Zuckerberg pledged to investors earlier this year that 2023 will be a “year of efficiency” for Meta. The company has been focusing on reducing its overhead, discontinuing projects that are not contributing to strengthening its vision and core business, and finding ways to further monetize its Family of Apps.
To this end, the company recently released a subscription package called Meta Verified that allows users to get the long-sought blue badge on Facebook and Instagram in exchange for a monthly payment of $15 for mobile devices.
In the latest earnings call, Zuckerberg emphasized that the metaverse – the company’s ultimate vision that demands strong AR/VR hardware – is considered a long-term play. Meanwhile, in the short term, Meta is primarily focused on leveraging the latest advancements in the field of artificial intelligence to strengthen its business.
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