Meta Publishes Meta 2 Dev Kit Unboxing, But 2016 Delivery Looks Unlikely

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Meta made sizeable waves in the AR space in early 2016 with the announcement, demonstration, and pre-order launch of their Meta 2 development kit. The company has published an unboxing video of the system, but with just over two weeks until 2017, it doesn’t appear the company will hit its 2016 delivery goal.

Meta opened pre-orders for the Meta 2 development kit back in Q1 of 2016 for $949, saying that orders would be filled in 2016. A new video this week from the company (seen at the top of this article) shows an unboxing of the system and makes a direct pitch interested developers to lock in the $949 price before it goes up at the end of 2016.

The video doesn’t make any mention of a release date for the Meta 2 development kit, but the company’s website reads the same as it has since pre-orders opened, “The product is available for preorder now and will ship later this year. We will be in communication with preorder customers on timing.”

meta-2-dev-kit-unboxing

The unboxing video shows everything that comes with the kit, which includes a soft sleeve-case and a helpful resting stand for the headset to prevent its lenses from being scratched when not on your head. At the end we see a brief moment of a welcome sequence which shows a worrying amount of tracking jitter, even with minimal movement of the headset.

Back in March, we went hands-on with an earlier prototype of the Meta 2 at the company’s office and concluded that the promising headset could be an eye-opening AR platform for developers, with potential to “do for augmented reality what Rift DK1 did for virtual reality.” Since October, Road to VR has reached out to Meta on multiple occasions (to multiple points of contact) for an update on the release status of the Meta 2, but hasn’t received any response.

Meta told us previously that they expected to be able to supply “tens of thousands of units” in 2016, though the company hasn’t said how many pre-orders have been received.

With just over two weeks remaining in 2016, the chances of any substantial number of Meta 2 dev kits being delivered by the end of the year seems unlikely, but hopefully it won’t be too far into the New Year before devs start receiving headsets en masse.

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  • Mark Seymour

    I will be very interested in comparing the meta 2 with the Hololens. While the Hololens is a technical masterpiece in wireless technology and position tracking its Achilles heel is its limited FOV. As long as the Meta 2 has solid a tracking system then the 90 FOV should be a big win for it.

    • Yes, but tethered AR is not so useful, so I think that in the end Microsoft approach will win.

      Anyway meta has another great thing that is super-efficient hand interaction

      • Amer

        this is just a dev kit, as you already know. The consumer version will be either untethered or (the higher possibility) accompanied with a pocket pc. that would probably raise the price to around $3,000 (or less hopefully)

        • Agree, but the real question is WHEN this consumer version will come out? Hololens is already available and timing is everything

    • Gerald Terveen

      I consider it an interesting device on feedback about visual fidelity – but overall the video does not make me a believer in their tracking! Looks like their world lock still is quite loose and it shakes too much.

      I would love to get an addon that adds Lighthouse tracking to the device – most of their customers likely have a Lighthouse anyway.

  • Meta is a great project I love a lot and their hand interaction is superb and very natural. But it is tethered and this is so bad for augmented reality. And as I can see from this video there is far more jitter than with Hololens

    • hyperskyper

      Yeah. I’ve read many reviews of HoloLens and none have said anything but positive things about the tracking. Even the companies that usually hate Microsoft only complained about the FOV, which will likely be much larger by the time the consumer edition is out.

  • Hivemind9000

    I just cancelled my preorder for Meta 2 after seeing this video. I had thought they would have dealt with the spacial tracking (aka jitters) by now. By showing this level of jittering in their final promotional video tells me that either (a) it’s an intractable problem that they cannot solve (design issue) or (b) they somehow think that it’s acceptable.

    I would have thought using accelerometers (like those used in the Samsung VR headset) would have been an easy way to stabilize the projected hologram. They are cheap and can take away a lot of the computational workload from having to visually process the scene.

    Either way I’m going to sit this one out. Maybe wait for Meta 3 or Hololens 2 or Magic Leap 1… ?

    I still don’t understand those who are criticizing Meta 2 for being tethered (compared to the Hololens). The Hololens is tethered to a computer – but one that is strapped to your body (around your neck). There are several independent initiatives for building powerful portable CPU/GPU platforms that you can wear in a similar mode to that of the Hololens (with a similar combined price). I am certain that, eventually (once they get the connectivity right via USB-C), that portable computing platform will be your mobile phone. Or low-latency, gigabit wifi connecting to your home PC. Eventually.

  • Mike

    This looks like a terrible demo. At least with hololens promo you had Skype calls, full mine craft in your living room and other real use cases. They show you touching some cubes, browsing the web (Which would be much better on a tablet or computer), spinning an earth and looking at some hub caps, if that’s the best they can pull out for a promo imagine what you actually get… For something so advanced they should have spent a little longer on the promo.