Opening up the Meta Quest platform, Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple

U.S. company Meta announces its policy to create a powerful spatial computing ecosystem by opening up its proprietary operating system “Meta Horizon OS” installed in the Meta Quest platform series of MR/VR headsets to external developers. did.

Why is Meta enhancing Horizon OS now? In a group interview with Japanese journalists, Mark Rabkin of US Meta talked about the company’s strategy to compete with rivals such as Apple, and plans to use generative AI in development tools for developers.

Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple, opening up the Meta Quest platform

Meta Quest platform Opening the OS allows users to do more of what they want to do.

Meta developed Horizon OS from a mobile foundation called the Android Open Source Project. Up until now, the development environment has not been made public, so why did you decide to make it open now? CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained this in a video post on Instagram on April 22nd.

Zuckerberg said that in the history of computing there have traditionally been two types of platform models: open and closed, and looks back at the success of closed platforms such as Apple’s iOS on smartphones. However, he went on to say that “an open platform is essential” for the development of next-generation spatial computing that utilizes MR/VR-compatible headsets and smart glasses.

The reason for this is that the Meta Quest series is finally attracting attention, and a variety of content and experiences are in demand. Although Mr. Zuckerberg did not specifically mention it, Apple’s release of its own closed platform, visionOS, and the device equipped with it, Apple Vision Pro, may have aroused a sense of competitiveness.

Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple, opening up the Meta Quest platform

This year marks 10 years since Meta’s predecessor, Facebook, acquired Oculus VR in 2014. Meta’s Rabkin recalls that since then, employees have shared Zuckerberg’s philosophy and committed to the development of the Metaverse.

Especially since the release of the latest model, Meta Quest 3, last year, Rabkin feels that “a new generation of mixed reality (MR) has begun, and the market is rapidly expanding.” The technology needed to further stimulate the Metaverse market already exists. Rabkin emphasizes that there is an urgent need to further push the growth of Horizon OS and create an environment in which users can do what they want.

ASUS and Lenovo have signed on to develop new hardware that will run Horizon OS. The two companies have also begun joint development of the Xbox limited edition Meta Quest, which is compatible with Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft’s cloud gaming service. None of the companies has announced specific dates for the introduction of products and services at this time.

Create an environment that makes it easy to provide apps

Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple, opening up the Meta Quest platform

Meta’s official store, which offers immersive apps and services, will change its name from “Meta Quest Store” to “Meta Horizon Store.” In the future, we will also provide frameworks for creating various immersive experiences, as well as tools for developers to convert existing 2D mobile apps to 3D. 

Although Rabkin did not provide specific metrics, the company will also create a system that will make it easier for outside developers to supply content to the Meta Horizon store as long as they meet basic technical and content requirements. In order to expand the range of apps, Meta has also removed the barrier between the App Lab, a section outside the official store where external developers can publish apps on a trial basis.

Going forward, Horizon OS will be positioned as the “world’s best space/social OS.” Game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Steam Link, as well as Air Link for enjoying PC applications on Meta Quest, will also open up ways for users to find and enjoy content from sources other than the official Meta Quest store.

Rabkin also enthusiastically urged that if Google decides to open Google Play’s 2D app store on Horizon OS in the future, “I would very much welcome this.” The reason for this is that we are closely aligned with “what the user wants to do.”

Provide development support tools using generative AI within one year

Apple’s visionOS was launched this year. Earlier this year, Samsung announced that it would be collaborating with Google and semiconductor maker Qualcomm to co-create next-generation XR experiences. How can Meta appeal to external developers the appeal of Horizon OS?

Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple, opening up the Meta Quest platform

Rabkin believes that it is important to “gather a large number of users to the platform,” but says, “I want developers to have many users use their products and services and provide an environment where it is easy to receive feedback.The economic benefits will only come after that.” It will come,” he emphasizes.

He has also begun developing tools to assist developers with generative AI. Meta has a language model called “Code Llama” that automatically generates programming code. Using generative AI technology, “even people with no programming knowledge can develop and provide apps and services on the Horizon OS platform,” says Rabkin, who says that such tools “can be developed within a year.” I want to deliver it to users,” he said.

Countering Apple with the diversity of Horizon OS-powered devices

We asked him about the future outlook for the Meta Quest series. Rabkin said, “I can’t speak to anything at this point,” but added that Meta is continuing to work on prototypes in a variety of price points and styles. The popular Meta Quest 3 can be purchased at a minimum price of 74,800 yen. While positioning this product as a “middle-priced all-rounder,” we will also work with a wide variety of devices from partners who have announced development using Horizon OS to create an “environment that allows users to do what they want” on the hardware side. Mr. Rabkin is enthusiastic. He will use the “diversity” of the Horizon OS camp as a weapon against Apple’s Apple Vision Pro.

Meta executives talk about the secret strategy to compete with Apple, opening up the Meta Quest platform

Although the product has not yet been released in Japan, Meta released the sunglasses-type smart glasses “Ray-Ban Meta” in collaboration with eyewear brand Ray-Ban last fall. It seems to be well received in the US.

This unit does not have a display to display images. The feature is that they are as comfortable to wear as regular sunglasses. It also has many functions as a smart device, such as taking videos and still images, listening to music through the built-in speaker, and talking to the voice assistant for hands-free navigation. With the success of this device as a tailwind, Rabkin feels that “generative AI can be used to further accelerate the evolution of headsets and smart glasses.” I look forward to Meta’s announcement of surprising devices.


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