Welcome back to Spatial Beats. It was widely agreed that Meta management handled its mass layoff with class and professionalism. Meanwhile, at Twitter, senior execs in advertising and privacy resigned following mass layoffs, drawing regulatory scrutiny, and lawsuits. Musk says bankruptcy is not out of the question, employees must return to the office, and expect to work overtime until… forever. Meta leaked its layoffs in advance to lighten the blowback, and then dropped the bomb on election day. Zuck sounded oddly authentic as he apologized to his surviving employees. Meta even dodged the snark squad with the announcement that they are killing Portal and both its unreleased smartwatches. Nonetheless, The Schadenfreude continues at the bottom of this column.
YAHAHA, raises $40 M for no-code content creation tools. The Helsinki company was founded by former Unity engineers in 2020 to create tools that make creating a game or metaverse environment as easy as drag and drop. Like its forebear, Yahaha has extensive, easy-to-use, tutorials. The Series A+ round was led by Temasek and Alibaba, and included investment from 37 Interactive Entertainment. This investment follows a previous Series A raise of $50 million, taking total funding secured by YAHAHA to almost $100 million in two years.
Arcturus scores $11M For Vol Cap Innovation. The company develops tools that make it easier to capture volumetric content with fewer cameras. The round was led by Cloudtree Ventures, and includes strategic investments from Epic Games and Autodesk, who are working with Arcturus to increase the functionality of volumetric video in Maya and Unreal Engine.
Apple and Epic appeal back in court. Last year’s confusing judgment was appealed by both parties. The court affirmed Apple’s app store practices but Apple was unhappy they needed to permit alternative payments. Epic was an even bigger loser, although they since found a moderately successful work around, but what they want is to be in the app store for much less money. Oral arguments began last Monday (14th).Here’s a history of the lawsuit if you need a refresher.
Snapdragon AR2 Chip Set To Accelerate AR Glasses. Qualcomm unveiled its powerful new Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 chip set and reference design on Wednesday. The new chipset will enable distributed processing, which mixes data processed locally on the smart glasses with compute from the cloud. This expands computing power, and lowers heat at the same time. The use of Wi-fi 7 will for the first time ensure the operation is latency free.
Shared Vision for Outdoor AR Headset Reference Design and Demo: Niantic and Qualcomm are working on a reference design for AR glasses and unveiled a demo that showcases their vision for heads-up outdoor play with the shared goal to accelerate the development of AR headsets for hardware manufacturers across the industry.
Vuzix Introduces CES Award-Winning Ultralite. The reference design, which Vuzix hopes will be manufactured by other under license, weighs a mere 38 grams. The glasses tether by bluetooth to a smartphone. Advanced waveguide optics combined with micro-LED displays to display smartphone content with a 30 degree field of view, emulating a 120” screen.
Huawei Technologies Introduces Smart Vision Glass, a device designed for streaming media. Like the Nreal Light,, users must tether the device to a smartphone, tablet, or desktop to operate the Smart Vision Glass product. Smart Vision Glass allows wearers to stream high-quality video content on virtual screens up to 120-inches in size. The device’s hardware specifications include a Micro-OLED display, binocular 1080P resolution. Huawei plans to release the device next month.
Report: Apparent HTC Leak Reveals Slim & Modular VR Standalone. The company is working on a follow up to its lightweight Flow VR HMD which will incorporate features in its Focus VR HMD, which is sold exclusively to enterprises in the US.
Dr. Jacki Morie Selected for Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR) will present the award at the VR Awards on Dec. 1, 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates pioneers who have made outstanding contributions towards the development of the new medium.
Meta’s Notorious B.I.G. VR Concert to Feature ‘Hyper Realistic’ Avatar of Late Rapper 25 years after his death. The Notorious B.I.G. is back as a “true-to-life, hyperrealistic” avatar in a virtual-reality concert coming exclusively to Meta’s VR and Facebook platforms. The event takes place in Horizon Worlds and features a recreation of 90s Brooklyn.
Magic Leap & XR Compilation (Rony Abovitz/Medium)
VR/AR Funding Falls As Metaverse Mass Adoption Still Not Reality (Jonnna Glasner/Crunchbase)
Big money is riding on the metaverse. Here’s why it will eventually succeed even though it’s derided by haters. (Jurica Dujmovic/Marketwatch)
This Week in Schadenfreude
“Mark has surrounded himself with Sycophants:” Zuckerberg’s big bet on the Metaverse is backfiring. (Nick Bilton/Vanity Fair)
Why Reality Labs will keep spending billions even as Meta makes the biggest cuts in its history (Eric Rosenbaum/CNBC)
How Meta went from a trillion-dollar company to mass layoffs (Daniel Howley/Yahoo News)
Meta beware, Apple’s AR/VR headset is expected to have an incredible display (Hamish Hector/TechRadar)
Is This The Downfall Of Meta And Social Media As We Know It? (Bernard Marr/Forbes)
This Week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. You can find it on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. Watch the latest episode below.
Charlie Fink is an author and futurist focused on spatial computing. See his books here. Spatial Beats contains insights and inputs from Fink’s collaborators including Paramount Pictures futurist Ted Shilowitz.