Augmented reality startup Magic Leap hasn’t really lived to the hype in spite of raising more than $2.6 billion over the years. The company’s release of the Magic One glasses was initially treated with great enthusiasm and while it wasn’t necessarily a technical flop, it wasn’t the much-anticipated mass augmented reality hardware piece that users have been waiting for.
In fact, compared to Microsoft’s HoloLens, the Magic Leap One glasses have been a disappointment. Magic Leap boss Rony Abovitz admitted as much, stating that the company had been “arrogant” with its boastful promises and that it had exaggerated the announcements on the prospects of the new mixed reality headset. Currently, Magic Leap One is available only as a steeply-priced Creator Edition.
Still, the company is committed to pursuing success in this front. Magic Leap is currently in the process of closing strategic partnerships with communications companies around the world. It has even gotten ahead and formulated a “Magicverse” vision of the future of the internet.
Magicverse is Magic Leap’s vision for the future of the internet.
Magic Leap is also planning further partnerships with companies, brands, sports leagues, artist, musicians, as well as filmmakers, a broad category of players who will help define the future of spatial computing.
Magic Leap’s operating system has also undergone continual improvement. The App Store has now been expanded to include even more content. The company’s apps such as “Create”, “Tonandi” and “Dr. Grordbort” have received some awards and rave reviews.
There is also Magic Leap’s AI assistant Mica which is billed as the next-generation AI assistant and presents a human-like AI in augmented reality.
Magic Leap boss Abovitz has stated that its team is currently working on the next-generation mixed reality hardware and software and that the XR era begins in 2020. The weight of these next generation glasses will come down significantly and the fields of application are also expected to be much wider.
Currently, Magic Leap is openly advocating for an open infrastructure. Abovitz has stated that while he believes that Magic Leap’s own devices in the Magicverse offer users the best experience, he is also an advocate for open infrastructure and believes other existing and future devices should also be supported to move the industry forward.
In late June, the Magic Leap boss had stated that the Magic Leap 5G Glasses could be launched within two to three years. Due to XR streaming, these devices will be significantly smaller in size, leaner and will have more powerful sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) support.
To develop this hardware, Magic Leap will continue inspiring investors to its course. The company’s first generation of glasses and App Store are already in the market but they don’t earn any serious revenues as the technology hasn’t reached maturation and the design isn’t refined yet so the user base is still very tiny. Unlike Facebook’s Oculus, Magic Leap hasn’t yet reached a clearly defined sweet spot of the kind of hardware it plans to develop for the mass market. Still, in spite of the meager sales and skeletal product line, the company already has more than 1600 employees, many of whom are well-paid professionals. In April 2018, Magic Leap raised $280 million from the Japanese telecommunications giant NTT. To date, the company has raised more than $2.6 billion in multiple rounds of funding.