Google’s AR headset will arrive late to the party, but its technical advantages and features will permit the search company to go up against Meta and Apple in terms of AR hardware.
- Project Iris is Google’s project to create a dedicated AR headset hardware
- It could ship in 2024, but the date isn’t set in stone as the project could face delays
- It’s said to be an advanced product from a technical standpoint
- Google CEO earlier said that AR will be a “major area of investment for us”
Google AR headset may ship in 2024
The device should combine virtual reality, which engulfs the viewer into a virtual world, and augmented reality, which superimposes computer imagery on top of the real world, into one “mixed reality” or “extended reality” device. Similar to Apple’s rumored headset, the Google device is said to use outward-facing cameras to blend computer graphics with a video feed of the real world. Read: How to use AR navigation in Maps
Looks like the thing isn’t too bulky like the current headsets. Early prototypes apparently resemble a pair of ski goggles. What’s more, Google’s device has built-in batteries so a tethered connection to an external power source isn’t needed.
Google’s headset is still early in development without a clearly defined go-to-market strategy, which indicates that the 2024 target year may be more aspirational than set in stone. The hardware is powered by a custom Google processor, like its newest Google Pixel smartphone, and runs on Android, though recent job listings indicate that a unique OS is in the works.
The product doesn’t seem to be on the same level of technical excellence as Apple’s standalone headset featuring powerful graphics and weighing only 300 grams.
Given power constraints, Google’s strategy is to use its data centers to remotely render some graphics and beam them into the headset via an internet connection. I’m told that the Pixel team is involved in some of the hardware pieces, but it’s unclear if the headset will ultimately be Pixel-branded. The name Google Glass is almost certainly off the table, thanks to the early blowback and the fact that it technically still exists as an enterprise product.
With the project at least two years away from shipping, technical details are scant.
iDB’s take on Google AR headset
Make no mistake about it, Google means business—the company recently hired Magic Leap’s CTO, Paul Greco. And so it begins. The coming headset wars will see Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others duke it out for the supremacy in the metaverse (don’t you hate that word, already?). Read: The best AR apps for kids on iPhone
I am highly skeptical that Big Tech will find a viable path to mass-market AR hardware anytime soon, but let’s see what happens and how the competition plays out.