Meta opens Horizon OS to third parties

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Meta Horizon OS
Virtual and augmented reality operating system
Original Name
Meta Quest Platform until 2024
Parent Company
Developed by Meta Platforms' Oculus VR, now Reality Labs division
Underlying OS
Runs on Android operating system since Oculus Go release in 2018
Meta has recently announced a significant shift in its strategy by opening its Meta Horizon OS to third-party hardware makers, marking a pivotal moment in the virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) industry. This move is set to expand the ecosystem and potentially disrupt the current market dynamics dominated by major players like Apple and Meta itself.

Key Developments in Meta Horizon OS

  1. Expansion to Third-Party Hardware Makers:
    • Meta has rebranded its Quest operating system to Meta Horizon OS and is now allowing third-party developers to create hardware that can run this OS.
    • Notable tech giants such as Asus, Lenovo, and Xbox are among the first to collaborate with Meta on this initiative. Asus is expected to develop VR gaming headsets, Lenovo is set to create mixed reality devices for productivity and entertainment, and Xbox is working on a limited-edition Quest VR headset inspired by its gaming ecosystem.
  2. Technological Enhancements and Features:
    • Meta Horizon OS is built on the foundation of the Android Open Source Project and has evolved into a full mixed reality operating system. It incorporates advanced features like eye, face, hand, and body tracking, high-resolution passthrough, and a suite of social features that enhance user interaction across multiple platforms.
    • The OS also supports a new spatial app framework to aid mobile developers in creating mixed reality experiences, which could lead to a surge in new applications across various headsets.
  3. Privacy and Data Sharing:
    • With the expansion of Meta Horizon OS, there are implications for user privacy and data sharing. Meta's privacy policy outlines that user profile information will be public and visible both on and off Meta VR products. This includes interactions with third-party services and applications, which may collect information directly from users.
  4. Market Implications and Strategic Moves:
    • By opening Meta Horizon OS to third parties, Meta is adopting a strategy similar to Google's with Android, aiming to create a broad and interoperable ecosystem that could attract more developers and users.
    • This strategy could position Meta to compete more effectively against other major players in the VR/AR market, including upcoming innovations from Apple and ongoing developments from Sony.
  5. Future Prospects and Industry Impact:
    • The decision to open Meta Horizon OS to third-party manufacturers is expected to diversify the types of VR and MR devices available, offering consumers more choices and potentially leading to increased adoption of VR technologies.
    • This move may also drive innovation and competition in the VR industry, similar to the early smartphone wars, which could accelerate technological advancements and market growth.
In conclusion, Meta's decision to open its Meta Horizon OS to third-party developers is a transformative step for the VR industry, aiming to create a more inclusive and expansive ecosystem. This could lead to increased competition, innovation, and possibly a new era in virtual and mixed reality technologies.
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