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Meta’s Reality Labs Faces Internal Shake Up

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Meta will scale down production of its upcoming Project Nazare augmented reality (AR) smart glasses and divert efforts towards other immersive hardware, a report from The Information revealed on Thursday.

Meta has shifted its focus after an internal shakeup of its Reality Labs Division, leading the Menlo Park-based firm to delay the expected 2024 release of Project Nazare with no new release window confirmed.

Meta’s divestment into extended reality (XR) technology follow a mixed Q1 earnings report, where it saw profits fall by 26 percent. Meta’s share decline came from a $10 billion profit loss caused by increased research and development (R&D) spending in its Reality Labs division.

The refocus does not appear to affect the production of Project Cambria, the firm’s upcoming virtual and mixed reality (VR/MR) headset.

Also, Meta is not selling its upcoming Orion smartglasses and will release the device for developers only.

The Latest Reshuffle from Meta

Currently, Meta is refocusing on its Portal platform, a consumer-grade, voice-controlled immersive smart display for use during video calls, as well as a second AR device called Artemis, a second-generation prototype following the Nazare device.

The Portal device follows a user’s movement as they make a video call increasing engagement and immersion. Meta made its smart display available in various models across smartphones to standalone headsets.

As part of the reshuffle, Meta will redesign the Portal device as an enterprise video communication tool aimed at hybrid workers.

Since 2018, Meta has sold Portal variants as a consumer product, with a business-grade model set for launch in 2021. Meta’s recent business Portal model has built-in Zoom and Microsoft Teams integration.

Despite this, Meta failed to gain interest in its consumer-grade Portal portfolio, forcing the firm to  focus on distributing Portal as a tool for businesses. Meta has also cancelled the production of its XR camera smartwatch due to the reshuffle.

Leaked initially in October last year and scheduled for release in the summer, Meta’s smartwatch came with ambitious XR features such as outward-facing tracking sensors, multiple photography lenses, touch displays, and compatible XR immersive applications.

The news comes after Meta filed numerous patents for an ambitious cryptocurrency payment platform with NFT and blockchain integrations called Meta Pay. Meta is also rolling out NFTs on its Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platform.

 

 

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