The rumored device, which is apparently called Project Moohan internally, is supposed to offer a mixed reality experience powered by the Android platform. It has reportedly been in the works since at least last year, tracking with the vague announcement Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm made earlier this year about creating a mixed reality platform.
But Project Moohan has become a “political headache” at Google. Sources tell Insider that the partnership makes it more likely for Samsung “to call the shots on product features” and that it doesn’t want Google’s other hardware divisions to have knowledge of the project over concerns that they might try to build a rival product.
It doesn’t look like Google is giving up on AR glasses completely
A report from the South Korean outlet SBS Biz suggests that Samsung is already starting to take control of the project. The company reportedly pushed back plans to start producing the headset following Apple’s Vision Pro reveal, which means we might not see the new headset until the middle of next year.
Even with a delay, some Google employees apparently don’t think it’s enough time to make the device stand out, with one telling Insider that it “definitely doesn’t provide enough buffer to come close to the Vision Pro.” That puts yet another wrench in Google’s mixed reality plans, which at one point involved spectacles that can translate text in real time.
Although AR software leader Mark Lucovsky announced earlier this summer that he’s leaving the company, it doesn’t look like Google is giving up on AR glasses completely. Insider reports that Google is exploring ways it can use AI with AR glasses and is also incorporating Iris’ software into another project called Betty, which Google will use to “build a ‘Micro XR’ software that it intends to pitch to manufacturers building glasses.”
According to Insider, Betty may be monocular — which means it projects an image in front of one lens — but a second project, codenamed Barry, will make use of both lenses. The release of Google’s AR spectacles and XR headset might be far out, but this might not be a bad thing — waiting to see what Apple is up to might give Google some time to make essential tweaks.