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Meta Horizion OS

Article by David Whelan C.E.O

Yesterday was indeed a big day for the future of immersive technology and lowering the barriers to wider adoption. Meta’s operating system was renamed “Meta Horizon OS” and made available to third party hardware making ASUS, Lenovo and Microsoft Xbox. With all current generation headsets using similar hardware, Meta’s key advantage has been its software SDK giving high performance and additional features to developers to utilize within their own software titles. 

It is still the early days of immersive technology for the masses and this availability of Meta Horizon OS is similar to the adoption of Microsoft Windows for the proliferation of personal computers. At ENGAGE XR we are working with and continue to work with all headset providers to ensure ENGAGE runs smoothly on their range of devices, however it can be challenging as each headset manufacturer has their own SDK operating system or set of rules to make software run smoothly. What Meta’s announcement means is hardware manufacturers can focus on the hardware and not worry about the OS, reducing costs significantly and ensuring cross platform support for key features such as avatars, facial tracking, deep linking between applications and app discovery just to name a few of the benefits. 

Think of this in the PC context. Imagine if every single computer manufacturer or phone manufacturer had to build their own separate operating system to the same level as Windows or Android. Software developers like my team at ENGAGE XR would need to build and deploy special builds for each device, increasing development costs exponentially and stopping innovation due to lack of funds and the time needed to test deployments. In this world, each computer manufacturer would also need their own version of Internet Explorer, and this would also cause incompatibility issues with many websites only functioning on a fraction of devices. We just need to look at the differences between MacOS, Linux and Windows today when it comes to incompatibility issues causing apps to crash. It’s a headache with just 3 major OS providers for PC. Imagine if this was 10 or 15 providers and the costs involved in supporting all of them.  

Meta opening up Meta Horizons OS is a good for both hardware and software makers. Meta have invested the most time and money into immersive technology sector by a long way, and taking down the walled garden approach will benefit the consumer in the long run. We will see innovative hardware released more often which will cost a lot less with wide scale interoperability making the immersive world a real reality for more people at a much faster rate than what we have seen previously.  

Initiatives like this from Meta are welcomed here at ENGAGE XR as it will cut our testing and development times significantly ensuring we can focus on new features and abilities for our platform instead of extensive cross platform testing and design.  Let’s see how Horizon OS plays out, but this news along with Meta’s AI Llama3 Open-Source news earlier this week is a breath of fresh air from Meta, and I can only commend Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Meta for this new open approach.  

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