Since 2017, more than 300 people have been working on the development of a new operating system within the Facebook teams, which has since become Meta. 300 engineers who were working on an OS intended to give life to future virtual and augmented reality devices from the social networking giant.
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A project unveiled in June, stopped in November…
Its codename was XR, where the X stands for V, virtual, and A, augmented. It looks like Meta ended that effort last November. According to The Informationwhich comes out… the information, XR would indeed be the “ reality operating system ”, which Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Bosworth, the technical director of Facebook, spoke about last June during a question and answer session on UploadVR.
For the record, it was a micro-kernel operating system, unlike Android (or Linux), which was intended to give Facebook/Meta tighter control over the various hardware layers of its products. The two leaders had indicated that the team was well advanced in its work, which should have allowed the time to consider an arrival “not so far away” of the OS.
Not the end of Meta’s ambitions
The abandonment of this project – and Meta insists on this point – does not mean that the giant is no longer interested in creating a dedicated operating system. Meta makes this known through the voice of its vice-president, Gabriel Aul, who indicates on Twitter that the team is not on the way to being reduced, but rather to be enlarged. Or more directly through a press release, sent to The Vergein which Sheeva Slovan, communications officer for Reality Labs, Meta, states:
“We are not stopping or reducing our operations in building an operating system.”
Before continuing : “The team continues to make progress and we continue to invest in building future computing platforms, such as augmented reality glasses or devices wearables in order to allow us to realize our vision of the metaverse ».
Meta’s effort in this area has therefore not come to a standstill, far from it, and an in-house operating system is only one of the possible steps along the tortuous path to the metaverse. It would seem unlikely that a company that renamed itself Meta would no longer believe in that distant promise.
In any case, the discontinuation of the XR OS should not have a negative impact on the launch of the augmented reality glasses on which Meta is working, under the code name Project Aria and Nazare. These two products should a priori run under a modified version of Android.
According to The Informationthe project would have stopped after the departure of Mark Lucovsky, general manager of operating systems at Facebook, who left to work for Google after Frances Haugen’s revelations about the practices of the social networking giant.
Sources: The Information, The Verge