The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system “died”? Meta Metaverse overlord’s dream is frustrated

Doing the system, not doing the system, is a dilemma in front of Meta.

According to the US technology media The Information report, Meta has stopped developing a new operating system designed for VR/AR devices. 

But then, Meta communications manager Sheeva Slovan sent a statement to The Verge via e-mail, stating that the related research and development of the new operating system is normal and there is no plan to reduce the scale of the research. 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

▲Related reports from The Verge

At the same time, Meta vice president Gabriel Aul said on Twitter: “We are still developing a highly specialized operating system for our devices.” 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

It is reported that Meta’s operating system research and development project has been officially established since 2017, and its internal code is XROS, which mainly provides services for VR/AR equipment. More than 300 people are involved in research and development. 

Meta’s independent research and development of the operating system has always received great attention from people,because this is a key step in Meta’s layout from the underlying architecture to the hardware “self-contained” pattern. According to The Information report, Meta may choose to use Google’s Android system to counter the potential threats Apple poses in the VR/AR field. 

01 With executives leaving, large investment and low return, Meta has encountered three major difficulties in developing a new system

During the in-depth investigation of Meta’s research and development of a new operating system, we found that the “bad” Meta may be related to the recent departure of some of Meta’s executives, the difficulty of developing a new operating system, and the low return rate. 

1. Dilemma 1: The core executives who developed the operating system leave

In November 2021, former well-known Microsoft engineer Mark Lucovsky announced his departure from the company.The engineer has served in Meta for four years, mainly as an operating system director, participating in the development of Android alternatives. 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

▲Mark Lukowski

Coincidentally, according to The Information, not long after the big cow left his job, Meta notified the employees of Reality Labs, a department involved in the development of VR and AR devices, that they decided to stop the development of the new operating system. Although I don’t know the true and false, but Meta did lose a general. 

Mark Lukowski previously worked at Microsoft for 16 years, as the chief architect involved in the development of the Windows NT operating system. Later, he still worked at Google for 5 years. 

This time, after Mark Lukowski resigned from Meta, he reinvested in the arms of his old company Google in December as the senior director of Google’s AR operating system. 

Regarding this resignation, Mark Lukowski himself stated, “On October 4, I saw the video of an interview with Facebook whistleblower Frances Hauge broadcasted on “60 Minutes” and read (the whistleblower ) After providing the materials to the SEC, I decided to leave Facebook.” 

2. Dilemma 2: The new operating system is difficult to develop

In June 2021, Meta CEO Zuckerberg publicly stated the importance of the new AR/VR operating system, and said that his team has made good progress in this direction. 

Zuckerberg also stated on his social media that Meta has begun to build an augmented reality operating system that can meet the needs of its internal AR glasses code-named Project Nazare. The glasses can not only present the information of the virtual world in the real world, but also serve as one of the entrance hardware to enter the “Metaverse”. 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

▲Meta hopes to present the image of AR glasses codenamed Project Nazare

Zuckerberg said: “If you want to build a smart glasses that looks ordinary like this, you may need to optimize the system more comprehensively, so that you can get the same computing performance as a computer.” 

He also mentioned that since such smart glasses need to last for at least one day and will be affected by human body temperature for a long time, it is challenging to build the required operating system for such a “computer”. 

3. Dilemma 3: Low rate of return on R&D operating system

In addition to the requirements for computing performance, it is a very long and challenging process to rebuild a new operating system specifically for VR/AR devices and also provide support for other third-party applications. 

In terms of mobile phone operating systems, more than a decade ago, after the market share of smartphones developed with Android and iOS as operating systems began to surpass that of Nokia and BlackBerry, Google and Apple were at the operating system level of mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Have a monopoly position. Whether it is Microsoft or other technology giants, many attempts to leverage the status of Google and Apple have been unsuccessful. 

Therefore, even if a qualified operating system is developed, it does not mean that Meta can shake the position of Google and Apple. How to make other third-party hardware and software are willing to adapt to Meta’s new system is also very important. 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

02 wanted to lie flat? difficult! Meta in crisis

The development of a new operating system is not only a way for Meta to actively respond to the complex Internet landscape, but it may also be a helpless move for Meta to face multiple challenges. 

1. Challenge 1: In a passive adjustment state, performance adaptation is unstable

Some people in the industry believe that although using Google’s Android operating system can allow Meta to save a certain amount of capital and resource investment in a short period of time, this approach will also cause certain hidden dangers. 

For example, every time Google releases a new Android version or fixes system security vulnerabilities, Meta and other software vendors need to spend a lot of time and resources to adjust their software according to the new changes in a timely manner. 

Not only that, because the Android operating system was originally customized for mobile phones, new problems may arise when adapting to other devices, such as VR/AR hardware. 

2. Challenge 2: Restricted by various platforms, it is difficult to have decision-making power

More than ten years ago, Zuckerberg began to want Meta to be independent and not dependent on any other company.It is reported that at that time, he had already begun to worry about the risk of prohibiting running his own Meta “Family Bucket” social software in the operating systems developed by Google and Apple, especially since these software still occupy the top several lists of various lists. 

The big cow ran away, and the VR operating system "died"? Meta Metaverse overlord's dream is frustrated

▲Meta’s social “family bucket”

According to The Information report, about six years ago, Zuckerberg began to prepare for Google to ban all types of Android-enabled devices from running its own software. 

Recently, Meta’s controversy between the advertising tracking function of its social software and Apple has undoubtedly confirmed that Zuckerberg’s concerns are likely to occur at any time. 

3. Challenge 3: Weakening the competitive advantage of the same platform in the VR field

Kirt McMaster, former CEO of Cyanogen, a third-party Android custom ROM company, said that because Meta and Apple may have a competitive relationship in the VR/AR hardware field in the future, Meta needs to make a comparison on the software level, such as the operating system. The design of the system is more competitive. 

Previously, Tianfeng Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had stated that Apple will launch AR headsets in the fourth quarter of 2022. Apple’s AR headsets will be equipped with M1-like “desktop” chips and Sony’s 4K Mirco OLED display. Replace the iPhone within the year, and it is expected that shipments will exceed 1 billion units. 

In the face of Apple’s menacing momentum, Meta not only needs to increase investment in hardware, but also at the software level to ensure that it is not left behind. 

03 Conclusion: Opportunities and challenges coexist, Meta encounters a dilemma

Whether to build a brand-new operating system or not, Meta faces a dilemma. Among them, not only is there a factor of staff turnover, but Meta may consider multiple considerations such as cost and return. 

Meta has been committed to publicizing the beautiful vision of “Metaverse” and attracting more players to participate in it, which has also intensified the competition pattern of the entire VR/AR market. 

This time, Meta’s progress in the development of the VR/AR operating system attracted many attentions, and it also revealed that various technology giants are vying to deploy the VR/AR industry, and VR/AR equipment may usher in a new outbreak in the future. . 

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