Google is discontinuing “Project Iris,” its plans to create its own pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses.
This means the glasses announced during the Google I/O 2022, as well as its transcription and navigation features, will no longer be produced by the company in the future.
Instead, Google will start focusing on producing software instead of hardware and is building a new “micro XR” platform to be licensed to other AR and VR companies, the same way it provides Android for mobile phones.
According to a report by Insider, the tech giant pulled the plug on the project following several layoffs and strategy shifts during the development phase.
Clay Bavor, Google’s head of AR/VR, also left the company more than four months ago. Google has also reportedly shut down its internal AR hardware development, with the exception of some employees who will continue to work at Google Labs to test AR technology.
Project Iris was first revealed by Google in January 2022, with plans to launch it as a standalone device. Last July, the company also said that it would start testing its AR prototypes.
The news comes after Google competitor Apple revealed during the WWDC event its much-awaited Vision Pro slated to launch early 2024.
Meta has also doubled down on the headset releases this year, with plans to launch the third generation of its Quest headsets later this year. Early in June, Meta CEO weighed in on Apple’s headsets, stating that the headsets were seven times more expensive than the upcoming Meta Quest 3.
As Google pivots away from in-house AR hardware to focus on software solutions, this strategic shift could create a new competitive landscape for other AR & VR companies looking to capitalize on this growing market.