Meta Snubbed ‘Android XR’ Google Partnership – Reports

Google has turned its attention to Samsung and Qualcomm instead

Meta Snubbed ‘Android XR’ Google Partnership – Reports
Augmented RealityMixed RealityVirtual RealityLatest News

Published: March 1, 2024

Tom Wright

Tom Wright

According to reports, Meta reportedly snubbed a potential partnership with Google that would have seen the pair collaborate on an extended reality platform.

First reported by The Information, Meta and Google executives are rumoured to have met late last year about the proposal to build “Android XR” together, with Meta ultimately walking away.

Meta currently runs a modified version of Android on its headsets, but Google has not made its full suite of apps available. It has also kept Meta from bringing the Android Play Store to its devices, which would broaden its appeal by making thousands of apps available.

Smartphone apps are a quick win for headset manufacturers, with Apple harnessing the power of iOS apps when launching its Vision Pro headset earlier this year.

While more than 1,000 dedicated spatial apps are available for the Vision Pro, it also supports over one million smartphone apps – a resource that Meta does not have to call upon.

The Information reported that Google would give Meta access to more Android apps if it agreed to the partnership, but Meta is reluctant to cede control of the platform that powers Quest headsets.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about wanting to “own” the next computing platform, in the same way Microsoft owned the PC era and Apple owns the smartphone era.

For Google, the gatekeeper of the Android app store, a partnership with Meta would propel it into a market where it has so far failed to make an impact.

Google Glass was launched as a consumer headset, killed off, resurrected as an enterprise headset and then killed off again last year.

It also binned off another set of glasses – dubbed Project Iris last year – despite boasting of their capabilities at Google I/O and releasing promotional material.

Google also made layoffs in the team that runs its XR hardware division earlier this year but is placing itself in the middle of Samsung’s XR partnership with chipmaker Qualcomm.

Meanwhile, Meta is reportedly planning to reveal its augmented reality glasses towards the end of this year.

According to a report by Business Insider, Meta will demo the specs at Connect but will not immediately make them available for purchase. Meta is yet to reveal a date for Connect 2024, but it’s typically held in September or October.

In an interview at the end of last year, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth waxed lyrical about a pair of glasses being used internally by Meta staff, only to dampen excitement by claiming they will likely never see the light of day.

“It’s probably our most exciting prototype that we’ve had to date,” he said.

AR Smart GlassesMeta QuestMixed Reality HeadsetsVR HeadsetsWearables

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