Meta Hits the Brakes on Portal, AR Glasses, and Other Hardware


As the previous adage goes, “hardware is hard.” Doubly so in the metaverse.

The firm Meta (née Facebook) has slowed its pursuit of AR glasses. The headset, which Meta had aimed for launch in 2024, was seemingly years away from precise improvement. Now, these plans appear to be on indefinite maintain. That report comes a couple of weeks after Meta admitted it burned by way of greater than $10 billion on its metaverse efforts.

It’s not the solely {hardware} to go on Meta’s again burner. Portal—the controversial videoconferencing machine with an object-sensing digicam that follows your movements—can also be going into restricted manufacturing. Meta now will stop producing Portals at the client degree and purpose the product at enterprise customers as an alternative. The firm has additionally reportedly stopped developing a smartwatch with cameras that had been in the works for a pair years. But hey, the man who got here up with the metaverse is moving into NFTs now, so perhaps it is all nonetheless legit.

Lens Crafters

Phone cameras have gotten fairly boring. In truth, they’ve remained essentially unchanged for years. But the firm Metalenz is moving camera tech forward by growing optics that seize extra knowledge whereas mendacity flatter than commonplace lens components. Flat optics are simpler to stack, which makes for higher lenses in a smaller package deal—so small {that a} smartphone designed round Metalenz’s digicam tech might get rid of the exterior bump on the again of the handset.

On Thursday, Metalenz introduced a partnership with the semiconductor firm STMicroelectronics that ought to speed up Metalenz’s entry into the client market. The firm’s first product using the “metasurface” lens tech is a depth sensor that can be utilized for smartphone features that require 3D knowledge, resembling portrait mode photographs or face-unlock authentication. The similar sensor may also present depth-sensing talents to VR headsets and autonomous robots.

If adoption of Metalenz’s tech continues, these flatter and extra highly effective lenses could possibly be making their approach into extra smartphone-ready digicam modules that can assist you better see the world around you.

Tesla Troubles

On Wednesday, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated it would dig deeper into its investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot options after a sequence of crashes final yr. Last August, the NHTSA began trying into 11 accidents since 2018 by which Teslas in Autopilot mode ran into vehicles at emergency scenes the place first responders have been current. The expanded investigation will look at the Tesla automobiles themselves and try to assess whether or not the autonomous programs have been wholly at fault, or simply made human error worse.

OK, so I suppose when Tesla crashes its automobile into an ambulance late at evening it will get “investigated,” however once I do it I get “arrested on the spot.” Whatever.

OnePlus 10 Pro Gets More Pro

When the Chinese firm OnePlus pronounces new telephones, they don’t get fairly the similar splash that iPhones or Samsung’s Galaxy telephones do. Still, we have a tendency to love OnePluses (OnesPlus?) {hardware} right here at WIRED. The new OnePlus 10 Pro, which we gave a 7/10, is already on sale in the US and Canada, however there is a new configuration with rather more reminiscence and storage arriving on June 15. The new model of the cellphone may have 12 GB of RAM, as much as 256 GB of inner storage, up from 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage on the unique model. The new mannequin, like the previous one, runs OnePlus’ personal OxygenOS over Android 12. The beefier config starts at $969 and is just obtainable in black.

Xbox Games Without the Xbox

The time is nigh to kiss the console goodbye—in case you purchased your self a brand-new Samsung good TV. Microsoft announced Thursday that it is going to be bringing its cloud gaming function of Xbox Game Pass to Samsung’s 2022 line of good TVs on June 30. That’s greater than 100 Xbox video games streamed proper to your display screen, no console required. Microsoft says it plans to expand to other smart TVs in the future.

Xbox Game Pass has already smoothed out some boundaries between gaming platforms, letting folks play throughout consoles and PCs. While Microsoft appears eager to hold onto its {hardware}, it looks as if the days of the console are numbered.

Tales From an In-Person WWDC

In case you missed it, Apple held its WWDC event this week. During the keynote occasion (aka out of doors prerecorded screening) on Monday, Apple laid out its imaginative and prescient for the subsequent iterations of iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS. It additionally confirmed off a pair completely different MacBooks, although clearly one was the favourite youngster.

This week on the Gadget Lab podcast, WIRED product reviewer Brenda Stolyar comes on the present to speak about the necessary takeaways from the occasion, and what it was like on the floor at Apple headquarters.

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