According to a new report from The Information, Meta has halted development of a new software operating system for its virtual reality (VR) headsets. The company set itself the goal of creating its own operating system. The project had been underway for “several years and involved hundreds of employees,” reports 9TB 5 Mac. According to The Information, this concerns precisely 300 people.
In 2021, Meta has assumed that it wants to reduce its dependence on Google and Apple. At that time, the company was using an open source version of Google’s Android operating system to control its Oculus Quest VR devices. Meta therefore wanted to develop its own software to no longer depend on that of other companies. The project was known as XROS.
This operating system was to give Meta tight control over every component of its hardware. In June 2021, Mark Zuckerberg said that a team was “quite advanced” on the project and planned a release in “the not too distant future”.
Recently, Meta reportedly announced to some of its staff that it will continue to modify an open source version of Android to operate its VR headsets. This modified version of Android is called VROS. Originally, Google developed this version for smartphones. Other companies, like Meta, then used it for exploitation on other types of devices.
This decision reinforces the link of dependence between Meta’s aspirations in terms of augmented reality and the virtual reality technology developed by Google. As a reminder, Meta’s project is to create a “metaverse”. A universe in which digital images are superimposed on the real world and real world objects are integrated into VR applications.
The XROS project reportedly ended after Mark Lucovsky announced his departure. The latter told The Information that he left the company for two reasons. The first concerns the revelations accusing Meta of harmful business practices. The second reason concerns the new orientation of the company, eclusively centered on the metaverse.
In a statement sent to The Verge, Meta categorically refutes The Information’s report. It reads, “We are not stopping or reducing our operations to build an operating system. […] The team continues to make progress and we continue to invest in building future computing platforms such as AR glasses and wearable devices to help realize our vision of the metaverse ”.