Thursday, July 25, 2024

Meta Reveals Big Plans for Its Horizon OS, Will Expand It to Third-Party Mixed-Reality Headset Makers

Meta announced the expansion of the operating system for its mixed-reality headset lineup to third-party device manufacturers and brands on Monday. The Horizon OS powers the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences on the Meta Quest series, but now other companies can also use the OS for their headsets and similar devices. The company is also renaming its app marketplace Meta Quest Store to Meta Horizon Store as a part of its third-party OS expansion plans.

Making the announcement via a blog post, Meta said, “Today we’re taking the next step toward our vision for a more open computing platform for the metaverse. We’re opening up the operating system powering our Meta Quest devices to third-party hardware makers, giving more choice to consumers and a larger ecosystem for developers to build for.”

The social media giant also revealed that it is already working with brands such as Asus ROG which is developing a gaming headset and Lenovo which will use it for its productivity, learning, and entertainment focused devices. Additionally, the company is also working on a limited edition Meta Quest inspired by its collaboration with Xbox last year. The new headset will let users play Xbox games on a 2D virtual screen in mixed reality.

Opening up its OS ecosystem, Meta is also helping developers build apps for the ecosystem seamlessly. For this, the mixed-reality headset maker is removing the barriers between Meta Horizon Store and its App Lab. App Lab titles will now be featured in a dedicated section within the former marketplace.

The company is also developing a new spatial app framework that will enable mobile app developers to implement mixed-reality experiences within it and bring it to the Horizon Store. It further announced that Horizon OS will be an open ecosystem. It already hosts third-party gaming services such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Steam Link, and has formally invited Google Play 2D app store to join the Horizon Store.

Based on the announcement, Meta’s OS ecosystem ambition is a major one, and is comparable to what Microsoft and Google did with Windows and Android operating systems. With its open source approach and experience of creating cohesive experience for mixed-reality environments, the company could create a big impact by bringing more brands under its umbrella.

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