Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today at Connect, the company’s annual XR developer conference, that it’s going to launch a set of mixed reality mini-apps on Quest 3 that you can stick anywhere in your house.

Relying on Quest 3’s room-mapping capabilities, the so-called ‘augments’ are due to launch sometime next year on Meta’s newly fully unveiled mixed reality headset, bringing what the company calls “interactive, spatially aware digital objects that come to life all around you.”

This includes simple objects, like a piece of art you can stick to your real-world wall, or something more involved like a weather app on your desk that alerts you before rain starts—all of it appearing right in place whenever you put on your headset.

Image courtesy Meta

Zuckerberg also noted that these sorts of ‘frames’ can contain things like Facebook videos, Instagram Reels, and other apps, but also portrait-shaped ‘portals’ that act as immediate links to VR games, like fitness app Supernatural.

Meta Wants to Beat Google at its Own Game with Horizon OS

Meta says it’s also going to launch branded augments like an iHeartRadio music player and Beat Saber trophiesostensibly all of the sort of stuff that Meta thinks you’d want to hang on your wall as you’re consuming traditional content through the headset.

We’ve seen some similar stuff from Magic Leap before it pivoted to enterprise, and Apple is sure to push many of the same augmented reality widgets with the launch of Apple Vision Pro. It’s going to be interesting to not only see what sort of brand deals the company can reel in, but how it goes toe-to-toe with Apple as it courts the more purely AR side things.

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Connect 2023 kicks off today, taking place September 27th and 28th at Meta’s Menlo Park headquarters. There’s been a ton of news already, so make sure to follow along with Connect for all of the latest XR stuff from Meta.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    So umm… where are the valve copiumers?
    Is bradley still busy dissecting every line of code in search of evidence that valve cares about vr?

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The problem with these ‘Augments’ is the same as with the previously available option to place virtual decoration into your environment: to benefit from it, you have to wear the headset while not using a VR app. Like most others I tend to wear the HMD only to use certain apps, and remove it immediately after, as it is rather heavy and uncomfortable and just a hindrance for anything other than using VR apps.

    Somehow Meta desperately tries to find use cases for MR that all require users to regularly wear HMDs while just sitting or walking around, but they forgot to first release an HMD that user would even consider wearing while not using specific apps. I’m sure there are edge cases where Augments will be useful, and maybe you really need stay up to date with the weather during your workout in MR. But somehow my ideas and Meta’s ideas of what would make their headsets more useful never seem to overlap.

    Usually what they present wouldn’t have made my top 20 of the most urgent improvements the Quest needs. If at some point they will come up with a decent Quest library interface instead of making it worse, I’d be more than happy to place a large, floating virtual Meta logo as a “thank you” note permanently in the center of my flat in MR. As a usable library interface would allow me to start the apps I actually want to use a lot quicker, I’d basically never see that logo anyway.

    • Guest

      They probably figure most people will want to junk-up their bedroom with virtual stuff the same way they do with icons on their cellphones and desktops!

  • Octogod

    Very cute and fun feature!

  • eadVrim

    We can call it MR Widgets

  • fcpw

    It’s obviously a copy of what Apple showed with their headset in June. What good are apps for an OS that only exists on your headset vs. part of a complete ecosystem such as Mac or Windows?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I’ll bet they have been working on that long before Apple showed their AVP, but they are only more interesting if your passthrough is better.

    • Ajedi32

      To me it feels very reminiscent of Oculus Home; just in AR instead of VR.

  • Foreign Devil

    Virtual decorations for your room will be very interesting. Slowly blurring the lines between analog and digital worlds. . encouraging us to perhaps stay plugged in longer if the digitally enhanced version of things makes us more excited. Of course this won’t really become a thing until the HMD’s are much lighter weight and more comfortable. At some point small pricy HMD’s like Bigscreen has will be sold at a steep loss because there will be so much revenue made in advertising, data harvesting and and app subscriptions in the virtual world.

  • Konchu

    I think that Augments can be fun if they open them up to devs. And I think they should be made for the virtual spaces as well as the pass through. Putting reminders etc in your personal Space so your can see it when you get on the headset. Imagine if immersed was not just a virtual space app but an augment just showing the screen and to the side you got a zoom augment and others working in harmony. And maybe you gots some Flashcards scatter across you play area a simple to manage and create mind palace.