Meta reportedly gives up on replacement operating system for VR devices
Even before the company was purchased by Facebook (now ‘Meta’), Oculus VR headsets were powered by an Android-based operating system. Every self-contained Oculus product since then has used the same software platform, but according to a new report from The Information, Meta has now shut down a 300-person team that was developing a replacement.
According to The Information (via The Verge), Meta began working on ‘XROS’ in 2017, named after the ‘XR’ umbrella term for augmented reality and virtual reality. The company did talk about the project openly on at least one occasion — Mark Zuckerberg said in a June 2021 interview that “we’re building a microkernel-based operating system, which is the architecture that you want to segment the pieces to make it as secure as possible.” The team reportedly had more than 300 people at one point.
Progress on XROS reportedly came to a halt after Mark Lucovsky, who was leading the effort, left the company to join Google’s AR/VR efforts in December 2021. Lucovsky told The Information that his departure was due to the the 60 Minutes interview with former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, where Haugen described the company’s limited action on misinformation and violent content, as well as “the company’s new metaverse-centric focus.”
Meta is supposedly still interested in building its own operating system, but at least according to this report, there’s no progress on that front. Meta denied the report, telling The Verge, “We are not halting or scaling back our operations in building a reality operating system. The team continues to make progress and we continue to invest in building for future computing platforms like AR glasses and wearable devices to help realize our metaverse vision.”
There’s no indication right now that the change in plans will slow down Meta’s efforts to take over the virtual reality and augmented reality space, but it does probably mean the company will be reliant on Android for a while longer.