The second iteration of Meta’s augmented reality glasses opened up for preorders on March 2nd, and the response from people who have been able to use them so far has been impressive. There has been such a significant advance with Meta 2 compared with their previous version that their main engineer has stated he uses the glasses as his main display. He codes for Meta inside Meta. The preorders launched at $949. Their launch video is shown below.
At $949, they are much less than Microsoft’s Hololens, which go for $3,000. Meta is tethered though, and it needs a PC to run the glasses while Hololens is a standalone device. Its resolution is 2560 x 1440 and it has a 90-degree field of view (FOV), much larger than the FOV for Hololens. As a comparison, the Gear VR has a 98-degree FOV while the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both have a 110-degree FOV. The FOV can be much more important in augmented worlds compared with virtual worlds. This is because in an augmented world, you will still have your natural field of view and objects will disappear as you turn your head when they should still technically be in view. However, in a virtual world the graphics take up the entire view, and outside of this there is just darkness that is tuned out. There is no overlay of other noticeable objects making you aware your FOV is limited.
Meta 2 is also equipped with a 720p front-facing camera and a 4-speaker near ear audio system. It also has a sensory array for hand interactions and positional tracking. There are demo videos of users wearing the glasses and passing a holographic object back and forth to the holographic image of a another person seen through the glasses. The ability to interact with the objects is much cleaner and more intuitive than the previous Meta version and this includes actions such as moving objects around, spinning them, resizing them, and handing them off to others.
There is no approval process for the Meta 2 and you can preorder it here. Shipping is expected to being in the third quarter of 2016.