In 2022, it turns out that Google was working on an AR headset called “Project Iris”. Now a new report indicates that Iris was actually a plan to build smart glasses that has since been scrapped.
Google Iris smart glasses
according to Business interestedGoogle isn’t currently working on its pair of smart glasses after canceling “Iris” earlier this year. The plan was to “build and launch Iris as its own product”.
Insiders say Google leaders kept changing the strategy for the Iris glasses when it was in development, causing the team to keep pivoting, frustrating many employees.
This decision was the result of “layoffs, cabinet reshuffles, and the departure of Clay Pavor,” who led the AR/VR effort and had been with the company for 18 years.
We reported in February that the augmented reality effort previously under Bavor had been moved to the Hiroshi Lockheimer Platforms & Ecosystems division (Android, Chrome/OS, etc.) and Rick Osterloh Devices & Services (Pixel, Nest, Chromecast).
Prior to this latest development, Google seemed to have a clear plan for AR devices. North acquired in 2020, and Business interestedThe report says that “the early version of the Iris looked a lot like North’s first device, the Focals.” I/O 2022 ended with Google saying it’s very interested in augmented reality, giving a brief demo of translation glasses inside Says it was another/newer version of Iris.
In mid-2022, Google announced that it will start testing AR models in the real world. In October of that year, the company began using Glass Enterprise paired with a Tensor-powered Pixel phone to test augmented reality features, such as Google Tasks, language translation, and the camera app. This seemed like a way for Google to publicly test augmented reality concepts using existing hardware. (In March of this year, Google discontinued Glass Enterprise Edition entirely, and that decision makes a bit of sense in retrospect.)
Two Googlers said Business interested that Iris may be resurrected in the future and that work on AR technology is ongoing.
In terms of Google’s augmented reality efforts, the company is now replicating the Android-OEM playbook for the new form factor. The report says, “Google has focused on creating software platforms for augmented reality that it hopes to license to other manufacturers to build headsets.”
That’s what Samsung and Google announced in February, with another mention at I/O. As of last month, Google said it expects more later this year.
In fact, what leaked about the Iris — a ski-goggle-like headset with Stadia-esque streaming tech — in 2022 was “actually grounding a separate AR project” that became the Samsung XR partnership.
Business interested Reports indicate that Samsung’s upcoming headset is “a direct response to concerns about what Apple has been working on.”
Along with Android XR, Google is also working on something dubbed a “micro XR” for glasses with that software/OS running on a “prototyping platform known internally as Betty”.
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