While it’s certainly true that companies often need to steep products with buzzwords, Magic Leap in particular has been pretty reliant on it so far, with no concrete news whatsoever about its availability, technical details, or even what’s going on with its supposedly innovative augmented reality technology.
Turns out this is for good reason, because Magic Leap, apart from few video appearances, has actually very little to show for the time being.
Magic Leap Is Not Just There Yet
Magic Leap’s initial sustained hype owes much to its company-claimed innovative AR technology, even securing as much as half a billion dollars during a round of investment in 2014, with Google’s moral support thrown in the mix. It also was able to raise nearly $800 million in a funding round earlier this year, touting the South Florida startup at a $4.5 billion valuation. Clearly, Magic Leap is one of the most anticipated companies from the scant augmented reality crowd.
However, as per a recent report by The Information, based on a number of sources and a demo, the technology isn’t quite shaping up to be as innovative as Magic Leap promised.
The video Magic Leap unveiled early 2015 titled “Just another day in the office at Magic Leap” showed much of the product’s jaw-dropping potential, but apparently, potential is where it starts and stops. According to The Information, no such game existed at the time of the video’s publication, so every augmented reality element on the video was a simple “let’s add it in post” situation.
The video also featured a WETA workshop logo, which means that the demonstration wasn’t actually recorded on Magic Leap’s technology.
Magic Leap Is Using A Different Technology Altogether
Even more pressing is that Magic Leap’s patented fiber-optic technology struggles in a “wearable mixed reality device,” leading it to be shelved indefinitely. As a result, The Information reports that Magic Leap is using another unspecified type of technology to shrink its helmet-sized prototype into something that can be integrated into glasses.
Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap’s chief executive, was able to show a prototype compact “PEQ” device, but the prototype wasn’t switched on and Abovitz was tight-lipped about the technology’s technicals.
Despite its sizable funding rounds and a lofty current valuation, consumers haven’t actually seen any product yet. Because of this, there’s also no release window in the offing, and more importantly, people still have no idea what the technology could end up being. Will it equate or surpass its promises, or will it be a watered-down and lackluster kludge undeserving of its hype?
In the meantime, Magic Leap’s video posted April — filmed directly using Magic Leap technology without special effects or composting — should pretty much accurately represent what the technology could end up being, and it remains to be seen whether Magic Leap could live up to its vision.