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What Are AR Glasses’ Impediments to Scale?



AR Insider

AR’s traction over the past few years has occurred mostly through the smartphone camera. As our research arm ARtillery Intelligence quantified in its mobile AR revenue forecast, this early AR modality has reached scale by piggy-backing on a ubiquitous device we all carry.

But that scale has a tradeoff. Mobile AR’s quantitative benefits come with qualitative detriments. Though AR enjoys mobile’s sheer reach, smartphones aren’t the technology’s optimal vessel. There, AR is overshadowed by other established and primary smartphone activities.

Beyond taking a back seat to other mobile use cases, AR’s use on smartphones can be awkward and un-ergonomic. Arm fatigue sets in through the act of holding one’s phone up for long periods to experience line-of-sight graphical overlays. This keeps session lengths relatively short.

At the same time, AR glasses aren’t ready for prime time. At one end of the spectrum is hardware that’s graphically compelling but stylistically untenable (think: Hololens). At the other end is hardware that’s sleek but underwhelming in graphical intensity (think: North Focals).

What will it take to get over that hump? Will Apple’s rumored glasses accelerate things? And how many years will this process take? ARtillery tackles these questions in its report, Smart Glasses, the Road to AR’s Holy Grail, which is excerpted below for AR Insider readers.

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To be fair, we don’t mean to downplay the commercial success seen so far in mobile AR. It will eventually be dwarfed by the value created by AR glasses, but there have been respectable wins in the meantime for smartphone-based AR, such as Snap’s AR lenses.

After accomplishing deep and frequent user engagement levels, Snap has attracted brand advertisers that want to expose their products and messaging with the same degree of immersive depth. ARtillery projects spending on AR ad placements to reach $6.8 billion by 2025.

But even Snap admits that mobile AR is an evolutionary step on the path to AR glasses. This is why it simultaneously fuels mobile AR lens initiatives and wearable hardware. Snap’s Spectacles mostly represent an R&D effort to get a feel for the social dynamics of wearable tech.

“We believe that in order to envision this future of computing overlaid on the world, you really need to take the screen away that’s cutting you off from the actual physical world, which the mobile phone does,” Snap’s Carolina Arguelles said at the AWE Europe conference. “Our investment in Spectacles is because we want to test, iterate, and understand what it means to interact with cameras when they’re on your face. We want to know what good content is….How people interact with it….What they like….What should the UX be? “

For these reasons, enterprise spending dominates AR glasses. However, spending shares could eventually flip as AR glasses get sleeker and more commercially viable. Consumer markets are generally bigger than enterprise markets though the latter sometimes leads in early-stage tech.

To quantify that, ARtillery Intelligence projects AR glasses spending to grow from $822 million last year to $13.4 billion in 2024. Enterprise spending is 98 percent of that total, but will retract to 90 percent by 2024, and continue to decline until the consumer growth curve intersects.

But that will take several years to happen, not just due to requisite technical advancements, but also AR glasses social acceptance. As seen from Google Glass’ early fails, cultural acceptance and comfort levels for face-worn hardware (with a camera, no less) is an uphill climb.

Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Speigel have each projected AR glasses’ endpoints to take up to 10 years. But there are also glimmers of hope. History tells us that if anyone can accomplish that feat of mainstreaming emerging tech — or at least catalyze the process — it’s probably Apple.

But the question is, what’s Apple’s strategy? And what will its AR glasses be and do? Starting with the former, Apple’s AR glasses strategy is driven by similar factors as its wearables play: to future proof its core hardware business in the face of decelerating iPhone revenue.

Apple AR glasses could accomplish this by both propping up and succeeding the aging iPhone. The former happens as it creates reliance on the iPhone for local compute. In other words, the iPhone gains importance — and user incentive to upgrade — if it powers your smart glasses.

An iPhone succession plan is meanwhile accomplished through a suite of wearables that replaces the collection of iThings that orbit our computing lives. That could mean line-of-sight AR graphics that accompany spatial audio from AirPods PRO, and biometrics from Apple Watch.

This fits Apple’s signature multi-device ecosystem play: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, thereby driving multi-device use. In this way, AR glasses will be a key puzzle piece in Apple’s future road map. Like the iPhone, they’ll start slow, then scale up rapidly.

We’ll pause there and circle back in the next report installment to go deeper on what Apple’s AR glasses could be and do…

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Frequent run-ins with Indian government complicates tech giants’ plans



Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.

(Reuters) — Another spat between India’s government and U.S. big tech has exacerbated disillusion among firms which have spent billions to build hubs in their largest growth market, to the extent some are rethinking expansion plans, people close to the matter said.

The government on Saturday said Twitter had not indicated compliance with new rules aimed at making social media firms more accountable to legal requests, and therefore risked losing liability exemptions for content posted on its platform.

Twitter joins compatriots, Facebook, and Facebook-owned WhatsApp in long being at loggerheads with the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over data privacy bills and policies some executives have called protectionist, but tension has escalated in recent weeks.

Police visited Twitter last month to notify it of a probe into the tagging of a political tweet as “manipulated media”, and in February interrogated an Amazon official about the potentially adverse social impact of a political drama. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is challenging the government in court over rules it said would force it to access encrypted data.

“The fear is there,” said a senior tech industry executive in India. “It weighs both strategically and operationally.”

There are no indications the increasing run-ins have led to the delay or cancellation of planned investment.

Still, three senior executives familiar with the thinking of major U.S. tech firms said perceptions of India being an alternative, more accessible growth market to China are changing, and that longstanding plans for India’s role in their operations are being reviewed.

“There always used to be these discussions to make India a hub, but that is being thought through now,” said one of the executives, who works at a U.S. tech firm. “This feeling is across the board.”

Four other executives and advisors also expressed concern about rising tension. All declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter and because discussions were private.

Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp and India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology did not respond to requests for comment.


The government has argued that its rules are needed to stem the spread of misinformation that can spark violence – such as in 2017 when kidnapping rumours shared on message apps including WhatsApp led to lynching. It also said the rules are necessary to hold large technology companies accountable for practices that hurt domestic businesses or compromise customer privacy.

India is a massive market for U.S. tech giants. It is the biggest market for both Facebook and WhatsApp by user numbers, showed data from Statista, and third for Twitter. Amazon has committed as much as $6.5 billion to invest in the country.

To attract small businesses through WhatsApp, Facebook last year invested $5.7 billion in Reliance Industries‘s media and telecommunications arm, Jio Platforms.

Alphabet’s Google also pumped $4.5 billion into Jio last year from a newly created $10 billion fund earmarked for investment in India over five to seven years.


The government has tried to balance attracting high-tech investment with nationalist policies aimed at protecting local businesses and, critics say, advancing its political agenda.

A border confrontation with China prompted it to effectively ban Chinese social media apps, including TikTok and WeChat.

The government has also forced foreign firms to store data locally against fierce lobbying, and its promotion of a domestic payment card network prompted Mastercard to complain to the U.S. government about the use of nationalism.

In 2019, compliance issues with new regulations saw Amazon remove thousands of products from its e-commerce platform. The e-tailer is separately facing scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India for its retailing practices.

Twitter publicly refused to comply with some government demands to remove content, a stance which some industry executives said may have aggravated its current situation.

WhatsApp has gone to court rather than comply with a new law requiring social media firms to trace the origin of dangerous or criminal posts on their platforms. The message app operator said it cannot comply without breaking encryption, while observers said yielding could prompt similar demands in other countries.

At the same time, WhatsApp has faced regulatory delays that have limited its payment service to just 4% of its 500 million customers. Nevertheless, it is pressing ahead with hiring for a service it has called a “globally significant” opportunity.

Government officials have shown little patience for objections. IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said any robust democracy must have accountability mechanisms, such as the ability to identify the originator of messages.

“A private company sitting in America should refrain from lecturing us on democracy when you are denying your users the right to effective redressal forum,” Prasad said in an interview with the Hindu newspaper published on Sunday.

Still, continued antagonism could imperil Modi’s ambition of making India a go-to investment destination.

“It’s a question of what you would develop in a three-to-five-year horizon,” said another executive familiar with the thinking of U.S. firms. “Do you do that in India or do you do that in another country. That’s where the conversation is.”


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The VR Job Hub: Zerolight, Condense Reality & Yord



Every weekend VRFocus gathers together vacancies from across the virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industry, in locations around the globe to help make finding that ideal job easier. Below is a selection of roles that are currently accepting applications across a number of disciplines, all within departments and companies that focus on immersive entertainment.

Location Company Role Link
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight LookDev Artist Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight CG Supervisor Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight UI-UX Design Team Manager Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight UI/UX Designer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight DevOps Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Associate Technical Director – Cloud Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Associate Technical Director – Tech Team Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Unity Developer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Graduate Graphics Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Graphics Engineer (Mid to Senior Level) Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Solution Architect Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Programme Manager Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality CUDA Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Computer Vision and Machine Learning Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Computer Vision and Image Processing Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Game Engine Integration Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Backend Engineer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord 2D Graphic Designer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior Unity 3D Developer Click Here to Apply
Germany Yord Trainee Business Developer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior 3D Graphic Designer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior Full Stack Web Developer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Trainee Business Developer Click Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

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How likable will the Facebook smartwatch experience be?



Facebook is reportedly working on a smartwatch of its own, which is slated to debut in the summer of next year. The wearable is expected to arrive with dual cameras onboard – almost a first for a wrist-wearable – feature health and messaging functions, and also act as a controller for the unannounced augmented reality device from the social media … Continue reading

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Upload VR Showcase Recap: Everything Announced for the Oculus Quest and Rift Platforms



Earlier today, UploadVR aired the latest iteration of its annual showcase, and it was packed with over a dozen different VR game trailers and news….

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