Meta’s AR wearables: Bringing the future to your wrist and eyes
If you think Meta has given up on its smartwatch, think again. The company is, reportedly, developing a new smartwatch that will be closely linked to its upcoming augmented reality (AR) glasses.
The device is designed to provide a seamless experience that combines on-the-go convenience with AR capabilities. It will have health-tracking capabilities as well as connectivity with apps and social media.
We reported last November that the company laid off some 11,000 staff in a cost cutting exercise. At the time, the word was that Meta will exit its Portal smart display business and discontinue all smartwatch projects. According to Reuters, executives revealed all of this during an employee town hall meeting.
About a month ago a pic of the device was leaked. Which implied development work was still on. Despite earlier rumours that the first Meta smartwatch would support Wear OS, the images indicate that it will be based on Android.
On top of that information, Alex Heath of The Verge, recently saw a roadmap of Meta’s upcoming releases in an internal presentation. This is references a smartwatch that is said to be closely related to Meta’s upcoming AR glasses. The device will, apparently, serve as a remote control for the glasses. It will allow users to access data quickly without having to remove their glasses or fiddle around with buttons on their wrists.
According to the report, the Meta smartwatch is set to hit the market by 2027. However, the product’s success is uncertain, as user preferences have shifted towards more traditional watches with no additional functions. Furthermore, 2027 is a long time away. It is difficult to predict what will happen next year, let alone in 5 years!
A smartwatch based on Android
It is also not clear whether the leak from early February (via @Za_Raczke) is referencing the same watch as the AR version from the presentation. Or perhaps the device in development is a blend of the two.
According to the leak from a month ago, Meta smartwatch will be powered by a Qualcomm chipset. The tech has been specifically designed to run Android rather than Wear OS. So, rather surprisingly, the watch will be built around Android.
That’s a distinct operating system from Wear OS. It provides a more customisable experience, with access to the full suite of Google services and a broader selection of apps available via the Play Store. However, it is less optimised for a smartwatch’s smaller screen and limited processing power.
Wear OS, on the other hand, provides smartwatches with more streamlined and tailored software. It comes with a focus on quick access to information and communication.
Two camera design
A unique feature of Meta Watch is its detachable frame design. This enables the user to remove the main unit while keeping the frame attached to their wrist.
The idea is to allow users to utilise the 2-megapixel underside camera built into the smartwatch with more ease. With rich social media integration, they could then share captured pics and videos with others. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera on the front for video calls.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
This new design is a slight improvement over the previous model. There were issues with the positioning of the second camera and potential nerve signals interfering with the device with that one. According to the leaked images, the sensors on the underside have been optimised for better performance. A new watch face has been added for the model which sports a simple blue design and a red short pointer.
Aside from that, the watch resembles the first model. It keeps pretty much the same form factor.
The timepiece was previously reported to cost $349. Meta watch was supposed to have robust messaging capabilities, along with LTE connectivity, health features such as a heart rate monitoring and more. The battery life was said to be around 18 hours, which isn’t really that great.
Many expected the watch would debut in the spring of 2022 but so far Meta has not made any official announcements. This latest leak and information from presentation give hope development of the device is still ongoing.
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