Market Reality: AT&T Invests in Magic Leap, Facebook & Snapchat Continue AR Duel

AT&T Invests in Magic Leap, Facebook & Snapchat Continue AR Duel

As it prepares to ship its first product by the end of the summer, Magic Leap has managed to impress yet another high-profile investor in telecommunications giant AT&T.

In addition to the investment, AT&T will serve as the exclusive wireless distribution partner for the consumer edition of Magic Leap's device.

Elsewhere, Facebook chased Snapchat's model for augmented reality advertising, while Snapchat appears to be preparing a partnership with Amazon for a visual product search tool.

Magic Leap Starts Financial & Retail Partnership with AT&T

Another massive piece of the mysterious augmented reality puzzle known as Magic Leap fell into place on Wednesday as AT&T announced that it will be the exclusive launch carrier for the device.

Magic Leap also notes that the new AT&T relationship is part of its Series D equity funding round. That part of the deal will include Donovan gaining "observer rights with Magic Leap's board," a role that generally allows for attending board meetings, but does not including voting rights.

Learn more about the deal between Magic Leap and AT&T, and then read our analysis of the pros and cons of the partnership for Magic Leap.

If your Magic Leap appetite is still not sated, read about Magic Leap's latest software demo and CEO Rony Abovitz's defense of the technology on Twitter...

REALITY BITES: The sensors in devices like Magic Leap One are enabling another technology field in spatial data. Varun Mani, technical fellow at Vuforia parent company PTC, explores how spatial data will enable true digital transformation in businesses.

Facebook Challenges Snapchat with Augmented Reality Ads in News Feed

Facebook is preparing to make augmented reality experiences for brands more visible in its mobile app with Tuesday's introduction of augmented reality ads in its News Feed.

News Feed AR ads will enable advertisers to insert AR camera effects, from virtual product try-ons to promotional 3D content, directly into ads.

Like Snapchat's Shoppable AR, the AR experiences will also give brands the opportunity to integrate calls to action that persuade consumers to navigate to an online store to purchase makeup or install a mobile game.

Read more about the brand partners testing the new ad format, and why marketers should be excited about advertising in AR...

Images via Facebook

REALITY BITES: Two years after its release, Pokémon GO is still one of the top augmented reality mobile apps available. Now, the company is preparing the Niantic Real World Platform, which enables developers to create more realistic and persistent content and build multiplayer experiences. Oculus software engineer Steph Rhee explains how Pokémon GO has positioned Niantic to be the company that spearheads mainstream augmented reality adoption with the next-generation platform.

Snapchat Reportedly Partnering with Amazon for Visual Product Search

A peek inside the code of the Snapchat app has revealed that the company is expanding the search capabilities of its augmented reality camera to include visual search that may link to items within Amazon's massive online store.

Self-described "technology leaker" on Twitter, a teenager by the name of Ishan Agarwal tipped off TechCrunch regarding the discovery. Codenamed "Eagle," the visual search feature would enable users to identify objects, songs, barcodes, and more. The app would then send data to "Amazon, Shazam, and other partners."

Continue reading to learn how this partnership fits alongside Snapchat's other commerce capabilities...

Image by Snapchat/YouTube

REALITY BITES: The enterprise segment of the augmented reality industry is currently ahead of the consumer sector in terms of adoption, but it may lose momentum. Russ Fadel, former CEO and founder of ThingWorx (now a PTC subsidiary alongside Vuforia) and current CEO and co-founder of enterprise AR startup Augmentir, sees parallels between industrial IoT and AR sectors.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

Cover image via Magic Leap/YouTube

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