Market Reality: Facebook Execs on AR Future, Amazon AR Beauty Salons, Samsung AR Launch & the Best Snapchat AR Lenses

Facebook Execs on AR Future, Amazon AR Beauty Salons, Samsung AR Launch & the Best Snapchat AR Lenses

As a company, Facebook is not shy about talking up its AR smartglasses plans. The latest missive comes from two executives in charge of developing AR software and hardware.

As far as we know, Amazon doesn't have plans to make AR smartglasses yet (and audio-only smartglasses don't count as AR). However, the company is getting into the salon business, and it does have plans for AR in that regard.

Elsewhere, content is king, and AR is no exception. This week, Google, Snapchat, and Samsung demonstrated their latest examples of AR content and content generation for mobile devices.

Facebook Execs Discuss Outlook for AR Smartglasses

The development of virtual reality at Facebook has been evolving lightspeed in the last few years. But while a relatively small group of VR enthusiasts and gamers are enjoying the social media giant's dedication to immersive headsets, it is the augmented reality space and its potential scale that truly has the tech market enthralled.

Facebook Reality Labs chief Andrew Bosworth (a member of the NR30) offered a tiny peek into what may soon be in the offing during a Twitter Spaces chat late Friday with former Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack.

Continue reading to learn more about what the pair talked about and what they have in the works for AR...

Image via Facebook

REALITY BITES:AR wasn't the star of the show at Apple's Spring Loaded event, though it did make a few cameos. Apple unveiled new iPad Pros with M1 processors and, like last year's model, LiDAR sensors for advanced AR experiences, demonstrated via apps like Jigspace and CamTrackAR, along with LiDAR-exclusive effects in the Clips app. In addition, Apple finally unveiled its AirTag item tracker, though it did not include the AR finder experience that many expected. However, the Find My app does use ARKit in conjunction with iPhone sensors in helping users navigate towards the physical location of AirTags. Finally, the new iPad Pros, iMacs and AirTags can be previewed in AR through Apple's website.

Amazon's Move into the Salon Business Backed by L'Oreal's AR Tech

The march of Amazon to insert itself into nearly every retail arena continues with the e-commerce giant's latest move to launch its own brick-and-mortar beauty salons.

However, this new initiative isn't limited to simply facilitating transactions at real-world locations, instead, Amazon is deploying some of its augmented reality aspirations to its experiment with in-person beauty customer service.

Read more about Amazon's augmented reality approach to its salon play and how L'Oreal's AR platform will contribute...

Image via L'Oreal

REALITY BITES: Is Disney working on an AR headset for guests at its amusement parks? According to anonymous sources, the company is exploring the deployment of AR visors in the style of the HoloLens in order to add AR effects or head-up information for visitors. In addition, Disney's research and development teams have patented a method for adding virtual light to physical objects, which could be used to enable tricks like AR lightsabers.

Google Expands AR Search Content with Pac-Man, Hello Kitty, & More

Gamers, anime fans, and those with an interest in Japanese culture are in for an AR treat courtesy of Google.

On Tuesday, the company added 14 3D renditions of popular Japanese characters, headlined by pop culture icons Pac-Man and Hello Kitty, to its roster of augmented reality content available in Google Search.

Continue reading to find out which characters are available and how to find them in AR...

Image by Google/YouTube

REALITY BITES: An eMarketer report projects that 93.3 million consumers, or 28.1% of the US population, will use AR at least once per month in 2021. Its forecast accounts for increases influenced by the pandemic as well as proliferation of 5G mobile networks.

Developers Leverage New Lens Studio Capabilities in Snapchat AR Experiences

Snap introduced some fantastic new augmented reality abilities in version 3.4 of Lens Studio, the company's tool that allows anyone to create AR lenses for the Snapchat app. The newest features include improved hand tracking and full-body segmentation.

The Lens Studio community has wasted no time in putting these capabilities to the test. The results include virtual recreations of popular sci-fi tech along with some amusing and visually stunning effects.

Read further to see some of the innovative uses for Lens Studio's new abilities, and then continue reading to find out how the creator community helped Snapchat tell stories about environmental issues for Earth Day...

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Usage of AR Lenses in Snapchat have increased by 40% year over year, according to Snap's first quarter 2021 financial results. And Snap's opportunities to monetize AR are trending further upward. In prepared remarks, Snap chief business officer Jeremi Gorman cited a study the company commissioned with Deloitte, which found that 94% of consumers expect to engage in AR shopping experiences more in 2022 compared to 2021, where adoption increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In related news, Piper Sandler's iannual survey of US teens reveals that Snapchat is the most popular social platform, with 31% of the more than 7,000 respondents favoring it.

Samsung Toys with Persistent Content in AR Canvas Beta

After integrating Snapchat into its latest Galaxy A Series smartphones, Samsung is trying out a new AR camera app for its army of mobile devices.

The company recently released a beta version of AR Canvas, an experimental app for its Galaxy smartphones that gives users the ability to create semi-persistent AR scenes with a variety of images.

Continue reading to learn more about the new app and how it fits in with Samsung's approach to AR...

Images via Samsung

REALITY BITES: Among the notable 2021 Webby Award nominees for Best Use of Augmented Reality are the Jadu app, the Verizon AR Pro app built by Trigger, and Marsbot for Airpods, a location-based audio app from Foursquare.

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 Facebook

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