When you think of augmented reality your mind might immediately go to Nintendo’s hit smartphone game, Pokemon Go. While yes, this is technically augmented reality, there’s a whole other type of AR our there that most people have never tried, heck many people don’t really know it exists.
Right now many people think of AR as looking at the world through your phone’s camera and seeing things on the screen that add to or augment the reality you normally see. Now imagine a similar experience except that rather than looking through a screen, a headset seemingly projects the world in front of your eyes.
What you see above might look like something from Star Wars, but ten years from now I think it will actually look more like an antique. Headsets like the Meta 2 are offering developers (and in the future, consumers) access to a new form of augmented reality, one that is more immersive, like VR, yet completely different in so many ways.
Right now the Microsoft Hololens has held court for years as the dominant early-adopters choice for augmented reality. The device has been compared to a Unicorn, hard to spot or actually get your hands on, but absolutely magical if you can.
While there’s no doubt that the Hololens opened our eyes to augmented reality, at $3,000/headset and with limited developer tools and support the adoption cycle has been slow. This is also why right now might be the very first time you’ve ever heard of a Hololens. If you do try a Hololens you might also find that the field of view is limited as you see everything through a square viewport that seems to float in front of your face.
Enter the Meta 2. Priced under $1,000 and fixing issues with a limited field of view by increasing to a 90 degree field of view and this year alone they’re expecting to sell more headsets than there are Hololens headsets…in the world.
“There’s more Meta 2 pre-orders than there are HoloLens headsets in the world,” Ryan Pamplin, VP of Sales & Partnerships at Meta, told me during a recent visit to check out the latest changes to the company’s AR headset. The Meta 2 uniquely features an impressive 90 degree field of view that’s a huge step up in immersion from the company’s prior Meta 1 device and other AR headsets in its class. (Source – RoadToVR)
What will it take to get headsets like the Meta 2 in the hands of consumers like, well, you reading this right now? My guess is that $950 is still way too much, but what happens when developers start building killer content for the Meta 2, and then the Meta 3 comes out at half the price?
Yes, these are the early days, but it’s companies like Meta that are paving the way for a huge shift in how we view and experience content. The question is – does the Meta 2 move us one step closer to a world where consumers have AR headsets at home? I think no matter what it’s safe to say it brings us one step closer.