Facebook is developing its own Operating System in order to free itself from other tech giants such as Google’s Android. The Information’s Alex Heath reported in his post that Mark Lucosvsky, a former Microsoft engineer who co-author of Windows NT, is leading the development of the OS from scratch.
Currently, Facebook’s hardware products, such as Oculus and Portal devices, run on a modified version of Android. However, Ficus Kirkpatrick, one of the company’s AR and VR heads, mentioned that the devices could run on the operating system, which would remove or reduce the control of Google over its hardware.
Andrew Bosworth head of augmented and virtual reality told The Information, “We really want to make sure the next generation has space for us. We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re going to do it ourselves.”
Along with this, the company is also is working on AR glasses. The glasses are codenamed as Orion, which would arrive in 2023, according to Bosworth. In the same year, Apple may also launch its pair of AR glasses. Facebook is still working on its brain-computer interference for its AR glasses, which would allow users to control the glasses with their thoughts. However, this would take another 5-10 years to arrive in the consumer market. Within this period, it’s going to develop a variant of the technology which will learn specific movements correlating brain signals.
In addition, Facebook is building a virtual assistant like Alexa and Siri for which it licensed Microsoft’s Bing search engine data to train the assistant. For all this work, the company is opening a new office of 70,000-square-foot facility to house around 4,000 employees in Burlingame near its headquarter in California.
The AR market is still in the early stages, and its growth seems slow. Thus, it’s surprising to see such a large investment from Facebook.