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


As the outdated adage goes, “hardware is hard.”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 growth. Now, these plans appear to be on indefinite maintain. That report comes just a few weeks after Meta admitted it burned via 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 be going into restricted manufacturing. Meta now will stop producing Portals at the shopper stage and goal the product at enterprise customers as a substitute. 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 possibly it is all nonetheless legit.

Lens Crafters

Phone cameras have gotten fairly boring. In reality, they’ve remained essentially unchanged for years. But the firm Metalenz is moving camera tech forward by growing optics that seize extra information whereas mendacity flatter than normal lens components. Flat optics are simpler to stack, which makes for higher lenses in a smaller bundle—so small {that a} smartphone designed round Metalenz’s digicam tech may remove 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 shopper market. The firm’s first product using the “metasurface” lens tech is a depth sensor that can be utilized for smartphone capabilities that require 3D information, corresponding to portrait mode images or face-unlock authentication. The identical sensor may also present depth-sensing skills to VR headsets and autonomous robots.

If adoption of Metalenz’s tech continues, these flatter and extra highly effective lenses might be making their means into extra smartphone-ready digicam modules that will help you better see the world around you.

Tesla Troubles

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

OK, so I assume when Tesla crashes its automobile into an ambulance late at night time 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 declares new telephones, they don’t get fairly the identical 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 far more reminiscence and storage arriving on June 15. The new model of the cellphone can have 12 GB of RAM, as much as 256 GB of inside storage, up from 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage on the unique model. The new mannequin, like the outdated 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—if you happen to purchased your self a brand-new Samsung sensible TV. Microsoft announced Thursday that will probably be bringing its cloud gaming characteristic of Xbox Game Pass to Samsung’s 2022 line of sensible 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 individuals 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 essential takeaways from the occasion, and what it was like on the floor at Apple headquarters.


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