Meta has stopped development of a bespoke AR operating system it was working on, according to a new report.
The Information claims that the company formerly known as Facebook had a 300-person team working on a new operating system aimed specifically at AR and VR headsets. It was referred to within Meta as XROS, and it was intended to replace the Android-based OS that currently operates its Quest devices.
Despite being in the works since 2017, and despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that the company had a “microkernel-based operating system” in development that was “pretty far along” as recently as June 2021, the report claims that Meta has pressed the pause button on development.
The reasons for this mysterious about turn are not specified. However, it’s claimed that work on the OS stopped shortly after team lead Mark Lucovsky announced he was leaving to work on an AR OS at Google.
Meta, for its part, has denied the central claim of the report.
“We are not halting or scaling back our operations in building a reality operating system,” said a spokesperson. “The team continues to make progress and we continue to invest in building for future computing platforms like AR glasses and wearable devices to help realize our metaverse vision.”
Meta VP Gabriel Aul has also had his say on Twitter:
Whatever the case, news of disruption to the Meta VR operating system project is far from ideal. With Apple and Google both equally invested in the AR and VR space, and both set to utilise their own custom operating systems, Meta can’t afford to fall too far behind.