Google is partnering with AR headset company Magic Leap

Magic Leap 2

Google is entering a “multi-faceted, strategic technology partnership” with Magic Leap, a company that released the Magic Leap 1 AR headset in 2018, and the Magic Leap 2 in 2022.

Google’s partnership with Magic Leap could combine transparent display tech with Android XR

Magic Leap said that the partnership would combine its leadership in optics and manufacturing with Google’s “technology platforms”.

Notably, Google was also an initial investor in Magic Leap leading a $542 million funding in 2014. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai also joined the board of directors of Magic Leap at the time. He left the position in 2018 due to his busy schedule.

Samsung is also working on a VR headset in partnership with Google that will use video passthrough tech instead of a transparent display, just like the Apple Vision Pro. Google’s role in this partnership is reportedly developing the software for Samsung’s hardware. However, it’s not clear what is going to be the case with Magic Leap. Google didn’t announce XR at I/O 2024. Instead, it focused on bringing virtual experiences to Google Maps.

According to the latest rumor, Google is not working on its own hardware, but partnering with an OEM for the development. Later Google also laid off employees from its augmented reality hardware team. According to a report from Reuters, Google’s new partnership with Magic Leap will not hurt its existing partnership with Samsung for the virtual reality headsets.

Unlike Apple or Samsung, Magic Leap has been focusing on actual AR products despite limitations

Magic Leap’s first product failed to meet the company’s sales expectations due to the limitations of a transparent optics technology and the $2300 high price tag. The company expected to sell more than a million units of the product. However, in reality, they only managed to sell 6000 units in the first 6 months.

Later in 2029, the company shifted its strategy to enterprise and launched a new $3000 bundle paired with business warranty and support. The Magic Leap 2 launched back in 2022 is still the best transparent headset on the market.

With the latest partnership, Magic Leap is expected to benefit from Android XR and AR services offered by Google. However, according to 9to5Google, the partnership could also offer Google access to Magic Leap’s transparent display technology.

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