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Business News/ Technology / News/  Google might bid adieu to 'Project Iris' augmented reality glasses: Report
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Google might bid adieu to 'Project Iris' augmented reality glasses: Report

Google has reportedly discontinued its Project Iris, an augmented reality (AR) headset, and will focus on software and collaborations, particularly with Samsung. The project faced challenges during development, including layoffs and shifting strategies.

For representation purposes (Thurrott Feed/ Twitter @Thurrottfeed)Premium
For representation purposes (Thurrott Feed/ Twitter @Thurrottfeed)

Google has reportedly made the decision to discontinue its ambitious Project Iris, an augmented reality (AR) headset, according to recent reports. Project Iris was initially positioned as a direct competitor to the upcoming AR headsets from Meta and Apple.

Insider, drawing insights from informed sources, confirms that Google has put Project Iris on hold, marking the end of the company's translation glasses project unveiled at last year's Google I/O conference. These glasses, previously dubbed as vaporware, showcased impressive features such as transcription and navigation capabilities. Google had announced plans for public testing starting in July. However, with the alleged cancellation of Project Iris, further development of these advanced functionalities seems unlikely.

As reported by Insider, Google has shifted its attention from hardware to software, emphasizing the creation of a "micro XR" platform that can be licensed to various headset manufacturers. This strategic move aligns with Google's successful approach with Android, making the operating system available to a wide range of smartphone manufacturers.

Interestingly, Insider's sources suggest that although Google will no longer develop the ski goggle-shaped headset independently, the concept may still be pursued through a different approach. In February, Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm made a cryptic announcement regarding their joint efforts on a new mixed-reality platform. While details remain scarce, Insider's sources indicate that Google's goggles served as a foundation for Samsung's upcoming headset.

The collaboration between Samsung and Google is not unprecedented. The companies had previously collaborated to customize Android for Samsung's folding phone series, the Galaxy Fold, predating Google's own folding device, the Pixel Fold, introduced earlier this year.

Initial reports had hinted at Google's plans to launch an AR headset by 2024. During the recent Google I/O 2023 event, Sameer Samat, Google's Vice President, alluded to the forthcoming disclosure of more information about the Samsung collaboration later this year, generating anticipation among industry observers.

Insider's sources reveal that Project Iris encountered numerous challenges during its development, including layoffs and shifting strategies. Clay Bavor, who headed Google's VR/AR division, left the company four months ago, while Kurt Akeley, a notable engineer associated with the project, marked his LinkedIn profile as "retired." However, Mark Lucovsky, along with two others, remains involved in AR projects at Google.

While the discontinuation of Project Iris may signal the end of Google's independent AR headset venture, the company's strategic shift toward software and collaborations, particularly with Samsung, suggests a new direction in its pursuit of immersive technologies.

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Published: 29 Jun 2023, 12:03 PM IST
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