Amazon has started developing a formidable challenger to Meta's Oculus headset, according to a new report.
Jeff Bezos' super-company has had an uncharacteristic soft approach to augmented and virtual reality technologies but now it looks to be recruiting a specialized team.
Eagle-eyed reporters at Protocol picked up on Amazon's extended reality (XR) initiative when they spotted now-deleted job postings on Amazon's website.
The company had posted a listing in search of a "software engineer – XR/AR, XR/AR Devices," Protocol reported.
Protocol added that applicants were expected to be versed in "conceiving and developing key software and architecture for a new-to-world smart-home product".
Another posting for a Sr. Technical Program Manager, New Products role had included details about XR directly in the job description – the copy has since been reworded and XR is gone from the page.
On LinkedIn, Amazon still has a public posting for a Sr UX Researcher, New Products – XR position looking for applicants who can "guide the development of a new-to-world XR product from a research prototype to launch."
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The XR headset space is crowded with giant corporations, all with different theories of what technologies will latch on with the public.
Mark Zuckerberg and Meta are neck-deep in fully immersive virtual reality investments – the company bought Oculus in 2014 for $2billion and dumped another $8billion into other metaverse endeavors.
Google is playing the field – they have AR glasses, a rudimentary VR headset powered by a phone, and VR apps on the market right now.
Microsoft's HoloLens, another mixed reality competitor, was used by Nasa to beam holograms of medical staff to the International Space Station.
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Meanwhile, Apple is rumored to be diving into the headset market – but company leadership publicly views augmented reality as the technology with mass appeal.
The Economist quoted Apple CEO Tim Cook saying: “There are clearly some cool niche things for VR. But it’s not profound in my view. AR is profound."
Protocol also noted that Amazon added some critical personnel to their roster that indicate an XR push is imminent.
Kharis O'Connell was named the Head of Futures Design at Amazon last year – O'Connell was a designer that helped get Google's AR tech off the ground.
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Barron's, a respected economics-centric magazine, said the metaverse could be worth anywhere from $8trillion to $13trillion dollars.
With that much money on the table it's no surprise that Bezos is steering Amazon into the swarm of corporate giants competing over XR.
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