2022 is arguably the most successful year for Metaverse, as the new Meta brand of Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google prepares to release new hardware products and software services in this niche for users. Soon.
“Metaverse” includes software and hardware that allows users to play, work in virtual 3-D, or take information from the internet and integrate it with the real world in real time. Currently, users can access Metaverse through smartphones, but they will later experience it through advanced virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) headsets.
Big Tech companies are betting that the gadget that transports their users into enhanced or fantasy worlds will open up the biggest new software market since Apple introduced a touchscreen smartphone last year. 2007. If Metaverse succeeds, then perhaps everyone with a smartphone today will also have a pair of computer glasses or a VR headset in a few years.
“The big tech platforms (which benefit from the growth of mobile computing applications) are now moving towards augmented reality to prepare for the next computing platform shift,” the analyst said. Eric Sheridan of Goldman Sachs wrote in a note in December. He said this appears to be the “next logical shift in consumption patterns” and will create new industry leaders.
Companies are pouring money into research and development of prototypes and underlying technology, preparing for a virtual battle when their products hit the market.
Follow Crunchbase, venture capitalists invested $10 billion in virtual world startups in 2021, and that number doesn’t count the budgets from Big Tech players. For example, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company spent so much money on virtual and augmented reality by 2021 that it shaved $10 billion off the company’s profits.
Goldman Sachs analysts estimate about $1.35 trillion will be invested in developing these technologies in the coming years.
Here’s where the big names in the tech industry are now and what they’re expected to release next year.
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Facebook ttest the new Horizon Workroom remote working app above headphone VR Oculus Quest 2 on 18/8/2021 | Source: Facebook
Facebook is currently putting its full potential on Metaverse technology. In fact, in 2021, the company changed its name to Meta Platforms to highlight the company’s new focus.
According to IDC, Meta is currently leading the way in this regard compared to other Big Tech competitors. They manufacture and sell VR hardware and have 75% of the market by 2021.
On Christmas Eve, the most popular app in Apple’s US App Store was the VR app Oculus for using the Quest 2 headset, an imperfect but meaningful sign that shows so many people turn to the device. .
Meta hasn’t announced Quest sales yet. But Qualcomm, Quest’s core chipmaker, estimated that The company shipped 10 million units in November. That’s not the number of smartphones, but they were important and were fueled by massive television advertising campaigns that drew attention to the devices. bag.
Meta is planning to release another VR headset this year called Project Cambria. According to Facebook, the device will have better “mixed reality” hardware, or use a camera outside of a VR headset to deliver the real world into viewers. Meta says it will also include face and eye tracking, which should make the device more responsive to user commands.
Meta’s initial foray into the market gave the company an early look at what software users wanted in their headphones. This month, the company launched a social platform called Horizon Worlds, in which people can attend comedy shows and movie nights inside Facebook’s virtual world.
Meta has acquired a number of companies that make popular apps for the Oculus headset, most notably Supernatural, a workout game in which users promptly hit emergent blocks.
This strategy is subject to antitrust investigation. The Federal Trade Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the $400 million acquisition, The Information reported.
Augmented Reality | Source: Apple
Apple has never confirmed it is working on headphones, but it has been testing approaches within its Technology Development Group for years.
Apple has been laying the groundwork for a massive new product portfolio. Its new iPhones are equipped with Lidar sensors, which can measure the distance of an object – crucial for location-based applications. Recent iPhones and iPads come with software called ARkit, which allows developers to create apps that use the iPhone’s sensors to map and precisely locate rooms.
These technology platforms are creating the foundation for an entirely new product, expected to be a high-end headset made by Apple, which combines virtual and augmented reality, which is said to be possible. launch in 2022.
Unlike Meta, Apple doesn’t discuss new hardware products until they’re ready to reveal them. When Apple releases the headphones, it has the potential to shake up the entire market and provide a new approach to many competitors, just as the iPhone did for smartphones and the Apple Watch did for smartwatches. bright.
Apple’s competitors will be watching closely to see what Apple CEO Tim Cook has to say about the biggest advantages and selling points for its headphones.
The content and how Apple integrates its services will be critical to the appeal of the device. Will Apple introduce a new app store for virtual reality apps? Will Apple headsets feature VR-based sports or exclusive content or music stemming from a NextVR purchase?
Investors and market analysts are beginning to wonder whether future sales of headphones or other gadgets based on reality will push Apple’s stock even higher if it issues a listing. First major new product item in 7 years?
Citi analysts wrote in December:
“Apple’s current market value does not reflect new product category launches. This will change with the launch of new AR/VR headsets in 2022.”
However, Apple won’t call it the “Metaverse”. Cook To share in September:
“I would stay away from the buzzwords. We just call it augmented reality.”
Glass Alphabet used in production
Google started the headset craze in Silicon Valley when it introduced Google Glass in 2013. The experiment wasn’t well received, but Google didn’t give up. To this day, Google sells Glass headsets to businesses, but often not to consumers.
Now, there are signs that Google is getting back into augmented reality seriously, even though it doesn’t have as many widely publicized products or technologies as its rivals. Since Glass first launched, many newer AR headsets have been introduced with more refined screens, better sensors, and more powerful processors.
Google owns the Android operating system, which is the most popular smartphone software in the world. Therefore, if Metaverse headsets and devices replace smartphones using the new operating system, the giant will suffer the most.
In 2020, Google acquired North, a well-funded startup specializing in the production of lightweight AR glasses, the spiritual successor to Google Glass.
Google now has a new team focused on operating systems for augmented reality, according to a report post shared by senior director Mark Lucovsky in December. Before joining Google, Lucovsky worked at Meta’s Oculus.
According to the job listing, Google is hiring heavily for this team that is currently working on “creative AR devices” and adding products “to the AR portfolio.”
Army US team wearing the IVAS system, a modified version of the HoloLens 2
Microsoft was the first Big Tech company to introduce the HoloLens full-featured AR headset in 2016. But its current product has yet to reach the level of being a device that consumers will wear regularly.
Instead, Microsoft is focusing on “enterprise” or selling headsets to businesses that can spend the list price of $3,500 and want to see if the technology can make their workers more productive. .
HoloLens’ most famous customer is the US military. Microsoft won a $22 billion contract earlier this year and sold 120,000 custom HoloLenses to the government that soldiers could use to “increase lethality.” However, earlier this year, the military said it would delay the start of field testing of HoloLens to 2022.
Whether the deal continues to be delayed or will bring success to both sides will be an important signal signaling the state of the augmented reality market.
HoloLens has also attracted the interest of medical companies who want to see if augmented reality can help improve operating rooms or even help perform surgery remotely.
Microsoft is investing heavily in cloud services to connect virtual worlds that are expected to go public in 2022.
In March, the company announced Mesh, allowing software makers to create apps for different devices to share the same digital reality. Mesh works like a video call, only with a hologram. Microsoft laid the groundwork for this push in 2017 when it acquired AltspaceVR.
Those Metaverse software features will launch in 2022. Microsoft will integrate Mesh into its video conferencing application Teams later this year. Features for Xbox games are also being worked on, and there is no specific release date yet. But it remains to be seen whether AR headsets improve the kind of productivity apps Microsoft is best known for.
However, CEO Satya Nadella is still very enthusiastic. He shared in November:
“I don’t know how much to say about how groundbreaking this is.”
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According to CNBC