Big XR News From Apple, Mozilla, Vodafone and RealWear

We round up the biggest XR news of the week

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Published: February 23, 2024

Tom Wright

Tom Wright

Vodafone Shifts Paradigm from XR Headsets to AR Glasses

Vodafone brought its computing connectivity capabilities to the Snapdragon-powered HyperRealityHub, shifting the paradigm from heavier XR headsets to more lightweight and affordable AR glasses.

The HyperRealityHub offered a split compute solution with external camera support to track the location and movement of multiple users, thereby lowering computing requirements, weight, and energy consumption of XR devices.

It used advanced architecture to enable computing requirements to be shared between glasses, the hub, and the cloud. The solution also included high-edge AI capabilities and Vodafone apps within the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.

Vodafone also shared plans to create a HyperRealityHub+ variant connecting multiple users for shared immersive experiences using Wi-Fi 7 and 5G, aiming to improve interactions across various verticals.

Offloading tasks from AR glasses to the HyperRealityHub allowed users to leverage high-performance remote rendering without sacrificing their overall experience.

Attendees of the Mobile World Congress had the opportunity to try out the HyperRealityHub using AR glasses utilising Snapdragon’s AR2 Gen 1 Platform, guided through wellness exercises by a virtual agent called VEDA or interacting with VEDA as a hologram-like projection without wearing AR glasses.

RealWear Partners with Vidhance

RealWear strengthened its partnership with a video enhancement software firm to create new video solutions for frontline workers. Vidhance, founded in 2007 and based in Sweden, specialises in software that improves video quality in various devices, including smartphones, AR wearables, and small sensors. Companies such as Huawei, Sharp, ByteDance, Qualcomm, Rokid, and Motorola were among its customers.

RealWear and Vidhance had already collaborated, but this new partnership focused on developing new products specifically for frontline workers. Dr. Chris Parkinson, CEO of RealWear, praised Vidhance’s video stabilisation technology, adapted for RealWear’s portfolio, offering an exceptional viewing experience for camera-based remote collaboration scenarios.

Vidhance, formerly known as IMINT Image Intelligence AB, showcased its Remote Assistance and Premium Video Stabilization features last year. Users could remove shaky video footage in real-time and stabilise frames and horizon levels when using remote assistance video for assisted reality, augmented reality, and other immersive formats.

The software utilises the camera’s motion sensor data to calculate the process frame by frame, providing smooth and stable imaging for devices. Vidhance reported around 850 million smartphones using its software last year.

1,000 Spatial Apps Available for Apple’s Vision Pro

More than 1,000 apps are available in the App Store for the Apple Vision Pro, as revealed by an Apple executive.

The announcement came just over two weeks after the headset had been launched, during which Apple stated there were 600 apps in the store.

In a Tweet, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Greg Joswiak, expressed gratitude to developers for their hard work, resulting in over 1,000 spatial apps explicitly designed for Vision Pro and over 1.5 million compatible apps.

Apple had developed spatial versions of popular native apps like Photos, Notes, Safari, and Apple TV. Additionally, major tech firms such as Microsoft, Zoom, and Cisco announced compatibility of their apps with Vision Pro.

Although users could download over one million iOS apps available in the store, notable opt-outs included Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, which were yet to register apps for Vision Pro.

Apple emphasized Vision Pro’s productivity and collaboration credentials, with a significant focus on entertainment. However, the swift rollout of apps by Microsoft, Zoom, Cisco, and others suggested a strong work angle.

Apple had previously highlighted the productivity aspect when revealing the headset’s availability, mentioning firms like Box and JigSpace. Aaron Levie, Box’s co-founder and CEO, lauded Vision Pro’s technology, stating it introduced immersive experiences redefining the way people work.

Mozilla to Shut Down Hubs

Mozilla announced the closure of Mozilla Hubs, including its Demo Server, Managed Subscription, and community resources. This decision stemmed from the “organisation-wide restructuring” unveiled the previous week.

Scheduled for closure on May 31, 2024, with new subscription creations disabled from March 1st, Mozilla aimed to assist users during the transition. They offered a tool for data download from April 1st, 2024, for demo users and subscribers. Mozilla also pledged to halt active development and maintenance of Hubs codebases post-shutdown.

Despite prior expansion plans to reach more education and enterprise users, Mozilla’s decision to shutter Hubs marked a swift departure from its roadmap. Over its five-year tenure, Hubs facilitated the creation of avatars and scenes and hosted meetups for millions.

While most of the Hubs team transitioned to Discord, three employees remained to facilitate the transition. Mozilla also facilitated data export, ensuring users could retrieve media and URLs associated with their accounts.

Additionally, Mozilla promised ongoing support through tutorials, Q&A sessions, and community meetups, ensuring users’ needs were addressed during and after the transition.



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