Google may have abandoned its Daydream VR headset years ago, but that doesn’t mean it has given up on headsets entirely. On the edge sources claim that Google is developing an augmented reality headset, dubbed Project Iris, which it wants to launch in 2024. The standalone wearable would use a custom Google processor, outward-facing tracking cameras, and run Android, though a custom operating system is a must. possibility, given the job listings. It can also rely on cloud-based rendering to overcome the processing power limitations of a headset.
Clay Bavor, Project Starline’s 3D telepresence booth manager (also slated for 2024), is overseeing the top-secret project. Insiders also said that the AR headset team included Google Assistant creator Scott Huffman, ARCore manager Shahram Izadi, and Mark Lukovsky, Meta’s former in-house operating system development lead. The Pixel division is also believed to be involved in some hardware work.
We asked Google for comments, although CEO Sundar Pichai suggested in October that AR was a “key investment area” for the company. The headset is reportedly very early in development without a clear market strategy, suggesting the 2024 target is not firm.
The headset might seem unexpected for a company burned by its early version of an AR wearable. It’s not a shock given the evolving landscape, however. Apple is rumored to be building a mixed reality headset, while Meta isn’t shy about wanting to develop AR hardware and push the metaverse. Google risks ceding the field to competitors if it doesn’t offer AR hardware or the corresponding platform, even if the final technology is still years away.
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