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AR/VR

Google reportedly building an AR Headset with custom processor, targeting 2024 release

Why should Apple and Meta have all the fun?
By Sanuj Bhatia January 21, 2022, 1:50 am
Google AR headset project iris

Google's last product in the AR sector was its Google Glass. However, the project ultimately died. According to a new report from The Verge, Google is reviving its interest in this market again as the search engine giant is tipped to be working on a new AR Headset. The project, internally known as Project Iris, is focused on developing a consumer-focused AR headset and it is still early in development.

According to the report, Google's next-gen AR headset will not be anything like Google Glass, which combined real-life with a video feed shown on a small screen in the corner. Instead, this AR headset will augment incoming video from outward-facing cameras with various graphics. The report claims that this device will have screens, just like the products being developed by Meta and Apple.

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It will have its own battery and will not require a power input as such. The device will run on Google's own custom processor — probably on-par or much faster than the Pixel 6's Tensor SoC. Google's hardware chief Rick Osterloh has previously said that Google's Tensor chipset is the "perfect foundation for making big improvements in AR." However, just like Apple, Google's AR headset is also said to have some overheating issues.

To overcome the heating issues, Google will make use of its cloud data centers. Instead of rendering the video on-device, Google's next-gen AR Headset will stream "some graphics". The headset is reportedly said to have some power constraints due to which Google "will beam [video] into the headset." Unlike Apple, Google has some experience in streaming rendered video, thanks to Stadia.

According to the report, the AR headset will run on Android. Even though Google has been rumored to be working on its own AR OS, that project isn't complete at the moment. Things might change if Google is able to develop the AR OS by the time of the product's release.

Talking about the release, Google is targeting to ship the device in 2024. The Verge says that the work on the project began to ramp up only recently. There is even no "clearly defined go-to-market strategy" as of the moment, but given there's enough time, Google will come up with something. It's also not known at the moment if the headset will be Pixel-branded, though the Pixel team is said to be "involved in some of the hardware pieces."

According to the report, Google is being secretive about this project. The report cites that Google has a special office in the Bay Area that "requires special keycard access" and the people working on it have to sign multiple "non-disclosure agreements." The report claims that nearly 300 Google engineers are part of the project right now, but "hundreds" more are expected to be hired soon.

The project is apparently a part of Google's Labs initiative and is overseen by Clay Bavor. Former Google Assistant Engineering VP Scott Huffman and Google Lens' former CTO are also said to be a part of the project. A separate team at Google Labs is also said to be working on 'Blockchain and distributed computing' technologies.

Source: The Verge | Via: 9to5Google

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