In late 2021, Google tapped the head of AR OS at Meta to lead a similar effort for an “innovative AR device”. Mark Lukowski has now come away with a rather scathing indictment of Google’s commitment and vision to augmented reality.
Lukovsky not longer “Senior Director of Engineering, responsible for the operating system and software platform for AR and XR devices” at Google.
Recent changes in AR leadership and Google’s precarious commitment and vision are noted. The former presumably refers to Clay Bavor leaving Google earlier this year, while a report late last month revealed that Google continued to change its Iris smart glasses development strategy before ending the project entirely at the start of 2023.
Notably, Lucovsky left the Meta around the time the company decided to stop developing an entirely new operating system for its virtual reality headsets and later augmented reality glasses. Instead, Meta decided to continue using Android-powered VROS to conserve engineering resources.
After Bavor’s departure, the AR efforts were moved to Hiroshi Lockheimer’s Platforms & Ecosystems division (Android, Chrome/OS, etc.) and Rick Osterloh’s Hardware & Services (Pixel, Nest, Chromecast) division.
We don’t know what Lucovsky’s group was working on, but a previous Iris report described a “micro XR” software/operating system for the eyewear. It’s unclear if that was Android or was running AR/XR OS Lucovsky. Previous job listings called for “understanding.” [the] Linux kernel and driver model and real-time operating system (RTOS) development experience. “
As far as departure letters go, Lucovsky’s tweet is pretty damning, calling into question Google’s commitment. It’s certainly a far cry from Google finishing off I/O 2022 by highlighting its commitment to the new form factor.
Google has already said it’s working with Samsung on Android XR and expects more this year.
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