Meta would have given up its connected watch project. Faced with the multiplication of costs associated with the metaverse, the group would have preferred to stop the costs.
According to information from our colleagues at Bloomberg, Meta, formerly Facebook, would have asked its Reality Labs department to abandon the development of smartwatch. The engineers associated with the project, whose code name is “Milan”, were “informed this week that the device was no longer on the production track”.
Rumors of a smartwatch developed by Meta surfaced last year. The first leaks caused an Android smartwatch intended to compete with the Apple Watch, which currently dominates the market. To differentiate itself, Meta had planned to integrate a camera for video calling.
A connected watch with 2 cameras
The engineers associated with the “Milan” project had evolved a prototype of the watch before its cancellation. Bloomberg managed to get his fingers in pictures of the accessory. The watch case is of course equipped with two cameras.
The first photosensor is located below the touch screen. It is intended for video calling on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram. The second camera is located on the back of the cabinet. This module should allow the user to take pictures by taking the case off of the bracelet. It’s a new approach.
Unfortunately, the integration of this second sensor caused a malfunction with one of the flagship technologies of the smartwatch, electromyography. This technology should allow the user of the watch to interact with elements of virtual or augmented reality.
For this, the watch strap interprets electrical signals emitted by your body. In a blog post published in March 2021, Meta already explained that the signals that your brain sends to the muscles in your hands of the nervous system can be decoded by bracelets designed by its engineers. These signals are automatically translated into digital commands.
“What we’re trying to do with neural interfaces is allow you to directly control the machine”explained Thomas Reardon, director of neuromotor interfaces at Meta. In augmented reality you will be able to touch and move virtual objects.[…] You will also be able to remotely control virtual objects »advanced Meta last year.
Apparently, Meta wanted her smartwatch to go with her future glasses for augmented reality. Expected during the year 2024, the smart glasses aim to show 3D elements superimposed on reality in front of the user’s eyes. To interact with these elements, such as avatars representing your loved ones, the wearer simply needs to have wave your hand. The watch was apparently intended for future users of the metaverse.
In addition, Meta’s smartwatch was to offer the classic functionalities from a connected watch. Bloomberg suggests the presence of WiFi, GPS, mobile connectivity via eSIM, apps like Spotify, WhatsApp, Instagram, health tracking system, heart monitor and calendar. It was to hit the market in the spring of 2023 at a price of around $ 349. It informs the media “Meta is still working on several other wrist-held devices”.
Cost reduction at Meta
Meta has reportedly canceled the release of its smartwatch to reduce the cost of its division Reality Labs. When the company announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2022, the company announced a loss of $ 2.96 billion.
Within a year, the metaverse division has lost 10.19 billion. This is the largest loss ever recorded by the company. The massive investments that Mark Zuckerberg decreed in virtual and augmented reality helped to tarnish the group’s results.
Knowing the financial losses, the founder of Meta expects Reality Labs not to generate profits with its products before 2030. To reassure shareholders, Zuckerberg nevertheless agreed to prioritize certain projects to the detriment of others.