The first augmented reality headset from Magic Leap is finally being shipped after a period of eight years and expending more than $2.3 billion.
However, here will be a very few who would be able to lay hands on one.
Priced at $2,295 a piece, the headset christened the Magic Leap One, Creator Edition, could be a disappointment for anyone who is expecting the output to be what has been claimed in the advertisements of the company – seamless combination of computer graphics and reality.
This is because the primary target customers for the Creator Edition are software developers and not consumers as the device is an early version. The total package comprises of a set of black goggles hat has translucent lenses, a disk-shaped computer, and a hand-held controller. Only a few US cities would get the device including New York, San Francisco, Los Angles and Seattle. The device would be hand deliver5ed by hand and the delivering person would also help to set it up.
Instead of the creation of immersive computer-generated world of virtual reality as created by other headsets, this new device is bale to create and changed or and augmented version of the space around the users. Light is projected into the eyes of the user through the glasses which helps in the creation of 3D illusion of the objects that are in the immediate surrounding – from between a few inches to a few feet. The4 technology is very good at seamlessly combining the computer images with real-world settings, say the few people who have used the device.
But Magic Leap tis still amongst the most secretive of US tech companies and has allowed very few people to actually use the technology. There is also very little information issued by the company about the functioning of the “light field” technology.
Despite these, investors have shown great interest in the company. for example, $542 million round of funding in 2014 was led by Google. In 2016, another round of $793.5 million was raised by Magic Leap and $502 billion in 2017. $400 million was put in by Saudi Arabia’s investment earlier this year.
The total valuation of the company has been pegged at $6 billion which is astronomical for a startup.
“It feels like a pressure valve has been opened,” said Stephanie Llamas, vice president of strategy at Super Data Research. “There are certainly concerns that the company is over-valued, but part of that sentiment comes from a resentment over their secrecy and early (misleading) marketing.”
Brian Blau, a VR and AR analyst at Garnter claims that the goggles of The Magic Leap One are quite similar to that of the Hololens which is the augmented reality glasses that was launched unveiled by Microsoft in 2015. According to him, that means that much less is being delivered by Magic Leap than what is has been claiming to offer.
“When you compare them from a spec standpoint, all the billions that Magic Leap has taken in, all the fake videos they ever produced, all the hype they’ve generated is the equivalent to [Hololens],” Blau said. “They worked for four years and took a lot of money to build a somewhat inferior product to what the market is expecting today.”
(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)