Along its quest to own a sizeable chunk of the XR space, Meta may be getting ready to show off some of its prototype AR hardware at the company’s upcoming Connect developer conference later this year, which up until now has been tightly under wraps.

A report from Business Insider maintains Meta’s AR team has been tapped to get its ‘Orion’ AR glasses ready to unveil at Connect 2024, which typically happens in October. The report cites two people familiar with the matter, whose identities were confirmed by Business Insider.

Orion has been under development for the past nine years, however there is allegedly now “internal pressure to ensure a high level of performance” at Connect, which the company regularly uses to not only unveil new products, such as Quest 3, but also research projects and prototypes such as Project Aria, which when unveiled in 2020 showed off a bevy of sensors the company was using to train its AR perception systems and assess public perception of the technology.

Project Aria | Image courtesy Meta

It’s uncertain if Orion and Project Nazare, are one in the same, which Meta teased back in 2021, saying it would be the company’s “first full augmented reality glasses.” Back then, Meta CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined just how difficult it would be:

“There’s a lot of technical work to get this form-factor and experience right. We have to fit hologram displays, projectors, batteries, radios, custom silicon chips, cameras, speakers, sensors to map the world around you and more into glasses that are about 5mm thick. So we still have a ways to go with Nazare, but we’re making good progress,” Zuckerberg said.

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Speaking to The Verge late last year, Meta CTO and Reality Labs Chief Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth described the company’s AR glasses as having been built on a “prohibitively expensive technology path.”

Notably, these are set to be ‘true’ AR glasses, and not HUD-based smartglasses like Google Glass, or a mixed reality headset, such as the company’s Quest line. Find out more about the difference between AR and smartglasses in our handy primer.

According to Business Insider, it’s expected that a consumer version of the AR glasses won’t be ready for a number of years, as previous reports maintain it could come as soon as 2027.

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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.
  • Interesting, *so* not an AR guy
    BUT WHERE ARE THE DATAGLOVES …??
    []^ )

  • I wonder how this will compare to TCL / RayNeo’s X2 AR glasses that is shipping out globally in April 2024. They’re claiming the first full AI-powered true augmented reality glasses.

    • ViRGiN

      I don’t see how a random name like TCL (no matter what they do) can bring out anything even 1% as desirable as AVP, especially with buzzwords like “AI-powered” from someone who is known not to be related to AI at all. There will come nothing tangible from anyone except for Meta/Apple.

      • TCL isn’t some “random” company. It’s a multibillion-dollar conglomerate mostly in the Asian markets. They have previously owned companies like BlackBerry, Palm, and Alcatel, and many of their components are in products produced by Samsung, Roku and IKEA.

        • ViRGiN

          And?
          It doesn’t take a genius to design a radio components for phones etc. VR/XR/AR is a whole different problem to solve, and just throwing money at it isn’t going to solve anything. You also need talent and experience, and actual means to burn through fortune to pursue it. I don’t see TCL banking like Meta does.
          HTC also wasn’t some “random” company, neither was Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, even Samsung itself.

          Nintendo also wasn’t some random company to enter branch of the industry, and they came out with Labo.

          BlackBerry, Palm, Alcatel… pretty retro names, completly irrelevant in todays world, and haven’t been relevant for well over a decade.

        • ViRGiN

          > TCL isn’t some “random” company. It’s a multibillion-dollar conglomerate

          Also TCL: starts an _indiegogo_ campaign to fund the AR glasses

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Some sources reported Apple internal estimates that it could take up to four hardware generations for AVP to become a viable (high end) mass market product, due to the technology to shrink it enough not yet existing, and everything being currently prohibitive expensive. A first AVP successor is expected for late 2025, focusing on weight reduction, with a non-pro version following later. Initially the low unit numbers Vision product line will probably not see yearly refreshes.

    Like Meta, Apple is looking for ‘Orion’ style glasses to finally get HMDs accepted by the masses. But last year they postponed their see-through project indefinitely due to too many fundamental issues still being unsolved. So with Apple expecting four generations of AVP to make it a consumer product, and pass-through only a stepping stone towards XR glasses, Apple apparently expects it to take at least another decade for these to become technically feasible.

    It is of course possible/likely that AVP and Orion style glasses would coexist for a while, with pass-through providing the more powerful, but less convenient experience. So maybe we’ll see expensive glasses with limited use before AV(P) itself can sell in significant numbers. It makes me wonder though how much the “prohibitively expensive technology path” of Orion, which was first planned as a developer device, but then limited to an internal prototype run, will cost per HMD in 2024. Only as much as few cars, or more than a house?

    • XRC

      2030’s always seemed about right for XR glasses based on current technology development

      • Yeah, Abrash said to wait 15 years before having the AR glasses of our dream

        • xyzs

          Yeah, he said many things that were supposed to be just around the corner, yet not even a 10th of it happened.

          Where is the varifocal ?
          Where is the 4k ?

          Where is the 140 degrees FOV.
          Where are the OLED screens ?
          Where is the slim form factor ?

          • ViRGiN

            Where is the wireless adapter for valve index?
            Where are the 2 more vr games valve has promised?
            Why is there no successor to valve index?
            Why everything about steamvr is stuck in 2016 era?
            Where is the advanced Source 2 VR kit to make games?
            Where is gayben?
            Why noone has ever seen him wearing any headset, outside of my glorious avatar?

  • I’m pretty excited about what they could unveil