LG announced a collaboration with Meta focused on strengthening the XR business of both companies.

Following the release of Vision Pro, it has become apparent that Apple has a serious game plan for its XR line of devices. Now that their product and focus is out in the open, the market is beginning to respond.

Today LG formally announced a partnership with Meta, which the two companies hope will “expedite [their] XR” ventures.

According to the announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg met at LG’s Seoul headquarters with top executives, including William Cho, CEO and Park Hyoung-sei, President of the company’s Home Entertainment division. The two-hour conversation apparently saw LG executives trying Meta’s latest XR hardware, Quest 3 and Ray Ban smart glasses.

As for the conclusion of the meeting and newly announced partnership, “LG envisions that by bringing together Meta’s platform with its own content/service capabilities from its TV business, a distinctive ecosystem can be forged in the XR domain, which is one of the company’s new business areas,” the announcement reads. “Moreover, the fusion of Meta’s diverse core technological elements with LG’s cutting-edge product and quality capabilities promises significant synergies in next-gen XR device development.”

While it isn’t clear exactly what the two companies plan to build together, rumors suggest that a next-gen Quest Pro 2—to compete more directly with Vision Pro—could be on the docket.

As a maker of a huge array of consumer electronics, it’s expected that LG would do the heavy lifting on the manufacturing side, while Meta handles the headset’s hardware design. LG also has content and services from its significant TV business, which it could leverage to get more media content officially onto Quest headsets.

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LG isn’t a stranger to the XR space, but hasn’t been particularly committed to it as a product category. Early on the company launched the LG 360 VR, a smartphone-tethered headset made for immersive media viewing. After finding little traction with customers, the product never saw a second generation.

In 2017 LG was on the cusp of launching a PC VR headset for SteamVR. It even went as far as publicly showcasing prototypes and announcing specs. But for some reason the headset never actually launched, and was left to fade into the history books without any official confirmation about what happened to the project.

According to LG, the company newly established a dedicated XR business unit within its Home Entertainment Company “to accelerate the pursuit of new ventures in the virtual space arena.”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • xyzs

    I hope it means microOled 4k screens for upcoming products.
    Because I won’t buy any Meta headsets as long as it’s not oled.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Yep, and the other thing I hope for is foveated rendering (eye tracking) so the graphics hardware does not spend ages calculating every pixel at your peripheral vison…

    • ViRGiN

      Oh, so fck Facebook!!1 but not too much cause they are the only ones capable of making a product you actually want.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    What’s kind of important (and disturbing) is that one of LG’s contributions will apparently be webOS, which is running their smart TVs and watches. This is probably an attempt by Meta to work around the lack of 2D apps on Quest, while AVP has iPad apps and the Samsung/Google/Qualcomm HMD will access the Android PlayStore.

    webOS has first party apps for Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, Prime video and even AppleTV, putting it in a much better position to compete with AVP for media consumption than Quest with only a few, mostly outdated streaming clients. lgappstv_com currently lists 395 games, 1387 entertainment, 230 life, 52 education and 78 news/info apps, which would give Meta some urgently needed non-XR software support without having to deal with Google or Apple as platform owners.

    I actually used webOS for years. Not on LG smart TVs, but on several Palm Pilot PDAs, a decade before the iPhone, when it was still called Palm OS. Palm later released PDAs (basically smartphones lacking the phone part) with integrated/added phones, but couldn’t compete with iOS/Android, and was first sold to HP and then LG who now use it on TVs.

    Adding a compatibility layer for Meta-HMDs shouldn’t be hard, both run on similar architectures. But so far the open source webOS isn’t an attractive platform beyond smartTV use. It’s “better than nothing” against AVP and Android based competitors, but (currently) not a sufficient base for a future where HMDs may replace first iPads/tablets, and later even phones.

    • Ben Lang

      WebOS… now that’s a name I haven’t heard in many years.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Ben: get an LG OLED: it will improve both your knowledge of WebOS and you TV watching experience!

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Ben already has an AVP, so I’m not sure if an LG OLED would still be able to improve is TV watching experience. But no doubt it would raise his familiarity with webOS as a potential future UI on Meta/LG HMDs.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            I think a TV is still the better option for most uses, in spite of the giant screens of a VR set, for uses like “watching TV with family or friends”.

          • foamreality

            Is webos open source like andoid OS? or is it the same thing ie android with a shiny front end

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            It open source like Android, and a different OS, not just a modified version of Android like Amazon or Meta use. The initial PalmOS for Motorola 680×0 (later ported to ARM) was released in 1996, 12 years before Android. webOS is a backwards compatible successor for ARM based on a Linux kernel plus a UI derived from web technology, hence the name.

            Android started an open source implementation (Dalvik) of a Java Virtual Machine (Micro Edition) running on a Linux kernel, and has since developed away from that to its own US. But the Linux foundation of both webOS and Android/Meta’s version on Quest should make it easy to combine them.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            PalmOS (started in 1996) is a completely different/separate OS as WebOS. WebOS is not merely a updated version of PalmOS. Palm introduced Palm WebOS in 2009, and switched over to that and ditched PalmOS.
            PalmOS was never officially ported to ARM (until someone did it in 2018).
            So your history on the OS is flawed as the original WebOS came YEARS after the initial Android.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Just for you I dug up the proprietary power supply for my 2004 Palm Tungsten T5 (should have been in the “special devices” box instead of “12V PSU”). The screenshots are from Palm OS 5.4(.5), first released in 2004, running on an Intel XScale ARM processor. Since the Tungsten ran the same binaries as my previous, 68K based Palm devices, the much stronger ARM was used to emulate the older Motorola CISC processor, just like Macs with Apple Silicon use Rosetta 2 to run old x86 binaries. That may not qualify as a full port.

            See my other response for the proper timeline and operating systems completely changing the technology they are based on while keeping (temporary) backwards compatibility.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/497b8856c037d569498c278e9849fbed91e12a3925ac760e0333942faadfaaa4.jpg

    • XRC

      Have two LG smart television in my house, webOS recently received a large update with complete overhaul of graphics interface, menu, content, etc. it’s become very usable after replacing the somewhat chunky and limited earlier version.

      There is now lots of content (free and paid) shown on the landing screen, which appears on bootup before terrestrial television channels appear (if you don’t interact with the landing page). Before this it used to select the aerial as primary signal and you had to press menu to get into webOS.

      Can easily see this transferring to headsets…

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Come on! I love my LG OLED TV, the interface and OS are OK too… but seriously, this “OS” offers a few TV apps, fine for TV, perfectly useless for everything else. compare this to Android and Google and you see Christian’s problem with it.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The webOS card/stack interface should work fine as a 2D interface on HMDs, so I could also “see this transferring to headsets”. My main concern is indeed that there are simply too few useful apps to make it a viable alternative to Android/iOS, which will be very hard to change.

          But Meta may simply have no other choice. They can’t go with Android, because people expect access to the Playstore, which Google will only grant for 30% from all software sales, exactly what Meta is trying to escape. They could set up their own 2D Android store, but why should developers publish there? Amazon at leasts sells millions of cheap FireHD tablets, while 2D on Quest will be a minuscule market.

          There aren’t that many (mobile) OS with at least some minor mainstream (Netflix etc.) app support, and even Samsung is now folding Tizen back into Google’s WearOS, leaving only Smart TVs as Tizen devices. webOS is at least open source, so other HMD vendors might pick it up, leading to more support. And with LG also being a small player in the app store market, Meta can negotiate revenue splits that work out for both. webOS may be Meta’s best bet, even if it’s a miserable bet.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            I thought Meta was partnering with Microsoft, which does have a few interesting apps themselves and an OS with a lot of apps. Still, the future Quests are unlikely to run Windows…

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            AFAIR the Office 365 integration they showed was always the web browser version, not a native app running on Quest. There is an Android version they could get to run on Quest, but the same wouldn’t work with Windows apps. In theory they could port .Net to Quest and run regular Windows apps, but most of these only exist in x86 form. And Microsoft is struggling itself with the abyssal speed these run with on ARM based Windows laptops like Surface due to the required emulation.

            So for this to even become an option, Microsoft would first have to successfully establish Windows on ARM with lots of available native apps. That’s not an issue with webOS that runs on ARM like Quest.

          • foamreality

            Microsoft have nothing to offer standalone ARM headsets that android doesn’t already do better on day one. Microsoft does have valve (via steamVR) pushing their x86 apps and games (plus hundreds of directx games for which MS receive a fee ). Microsft have been failing for decades to produce anything people want, kinect, mixed reality, hololens, all a flop. All they have is windows, office & MS flight simultaor. And small companies paying them millions for windows licensees and tech support because they are too daft to switch to linux.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Well, they have to offer the largest library of productivity tools that a lot of users are familiar with, which has kept them the standard for business use despite completely free solutions based on for example Linux and LibreOffice being available that would work the same for many users. And they are currently the most valuable company in the world, before Apple, so they must be offering something of value.

            Their income has shifted a lot in the last decade, they are mostly a services company now, with much of the revenue coming from e.g. cloud services instead of software licenses. Gamepass alone generated USD 2.9bn in revenue in 2021, with subscriber numbers rising quickly and Microsoft hoping for it to make USD 8bn by 2030. In comparison, Steam is estimated to generate about USD 13bn in revenue for Valve.

          • foamreality

            As you say they do cloud services well, also their value is tied up in the AI bubble which they have heavily invested in (more than google, meta or apple). That may pop in a few years. Still from a software point of view they don’t offer much. MSoffice is used much less than it used to be, google docs is commonly used in most offices now. What other apps do MS have that linux doesn’t offer? You can run slack, zoom etc on linux just fine. And even MS office with wine. And offcially with MS360

          • foamreality

            If it has an arm processor, it will be an LG/Meta android app store (offering less fees for devs than google – epic won that antitrust case against google in court recently – netflix refusing to make an app for AVP probably also ties in with that – they don’t want to pay either google or apple 30% on sales, but they might pay meta/lg 20%)

          • foamreality

            They could set up their own 2D Android store, but why should developers publish there?

            Because Meta can offer a lower fee on their sales. Devs would like this, and could even give meta the edge on android phones (since the recent epic v google antitrust case that google lost). I think LG can offer an android app store that competes with google and costs devs less in their webOS.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            There are already a lot of 2D Android stores, but publishing to one makes only sense if the developers can expect a decent amount of sales from there, otherwise it just takes a lot of time. The Google Play store has about 2.5bn monthly users, so it makes a lot of sense for devs to support it.

            Meta may have sold USD ~25mn Quest by now, but only about 1/3rd of these are still in use, and only a tiny fraction of the users would buy 2D Android apps from Meta, so it simply doesn’t pay for most developers to even bother to publish and support apps there. That’s the same issue as with Epic: they may have better conditions, but they just don’t have the audience to make it worthwhile. There are successful Android stores, but they either serve their own hardware like Amazon, or they are in countries where the Play store isn’t accessible.

          • foamreality

            Meta are big enough to just provide an app store that is more or less the same as play store. Like amazon . Devs will use it when the VR users come. And they will come when their next headset is released if they can make something better than AVP.

    • Sven Viking

      Seems like it’d be of use for access to 2D video streaming apps at least.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Webos is NOT Palm OS, the first release of WebOS was by Palm, but it was a separate newly developed OS.
      There shouldn’t really be a lack of 2D apps on the Quest as you can run many regular Android apps, now still by sideloading.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        webOS is a separate, newly developed OS with a new kernel for multitasking and a new UI API that got a compatibility layer for the old Palm OS.

        Just like Windows NT was a new OS with a new kernel that replaced the old MS-DOS still running Win3.X, with Win NT 4.0 inheriting the UI from the 32-bit W95, which was succeeded by the .NET framework, which is mostly a copy of the Java Virtual Machine for C#.

        Or MacOS, which today is a Mach kernel with a FreeBSD personality that runs an object-oriented framework inherited from NeXTSTEP that was the template after which Sun designed Java, and the additional Carbon API for applications that were initially developed for the classic MacOS using the Mac Toolbox and only capable of cooperative Multitasking.

        Microsoft Windows was released in 1985, even if the Windows of today is a completely different OS. MacOS was released in 1984, even if the MacOS of today is a completely different OS. Palm OS was released in 1998, even if (its successor) webOS is a completely different OS today.

        Sideloading isn’t a viable option, as it circumvents Meta’s business model.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But sideloading aready works on the meta headsets.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            It works as a side effect of using Android, not because Meta wants it, and an important reason to release App Lab was to make sure that SidequestVR based on sideloading would never become a viable competitor to Meta’s Quest store. They make users jump through some hoops to allow sideloading content, counting that the majority will never do, just as Google counts that the majority never enables installing apps from other sources than the Play store. So Meta pointing users to sideloading as an option to download 2D Android apps from other stores as an alternative to providing them themselves or via a partnered store would be like Meta shooting into their own foot, not only affecting a few 2D Android apps, but their core XR apps from the Quest store too.

  • Sven Viking

    The virtual space arena makes me think of Echo Arena or something.