Market Reality: North Opens Smartglasses Retail Stores, Magic Leap & Microsoft Court Devs, & Another Exec Exits Snap

North Opens Smartglasses Retail Stores, Magic Leap & Microsoft Court Devs, & Another Exec Exits Snap

The North remembers...that smartglasses are the future! Game of Thrones jokes aside, the smartglasses startup opened its doors, and we visited its Brooklyn store to get our hands the consumer-focused Focals smartglasses.

While North is just getting off the ground, Microsoft and Magic Leap already have their own AR headsets out in the wild. Both companies stepped up their efforts to catalyze the development of content for their devices this week.

Snap, Inc., another company reportedly working on AR smartglasses, suffered another leadership loss this week, this time with the departure of its content chief.

Finally, a new AR startup emerged this week in Mojo Vision. But their vision of AR may not involve smartglasses.

North Opens First Smartglasses Retail Stores for Focals

On Tuesday, the smartglasses startup known as North finally took the wraps off its Focals product, but in a very unique way: The team simply opened a couple of stores and invited the public in.

The flagship store is located in the quiet, upscale confines of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, NY, while the other store is located in Toronto. For now, those are the only stores as the North looks to work out its retail process that may see a larger launch in the future.

Continue reading for our impressions of the retail experience North has set up and the technology that Focals offer...

Image by Adario Strange/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Add another tech giant to the roster of companies working on augmented reality wearables. China's Huawei reportedly plans to launch its own AR glasses within the next two years. At this point, what tech company isn't working on such a product? Oh, hey there, Intel...we didn't see you there.

Magic Leap Pledges $500k in Grants to Independent Developers

On Thursday, Magic Leap decided to step up its efforts to foster its developer community by launching the Independent Creator Program.

The program is designed to encourage developers and producers to create apps for the Magic Leap One, with the payoff being $20,000 to $500,000 in grant funding, along with technical and marketing support from the company.

Read on to learn more about Magic Leap's program and how may benefit developers and Magic Leap...

Microsoft Recruits Female Developers to Mixed Reality via Hackathon

In December, Microsoft will host the Women in AI & Mixed Reality Hackathon at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, right across the street from the Moscone Center, the site of countless tech events that were important to Silicon Valley's overall history.

The free three-day event will allow developers and creatives to network and meet with Microsoft engineers and designers who will serve as mentors during the event. Also, HoloLens and Kinect inventor, and Microsoft Technical Fellow, Alex Kipman (a member of this year's NR30) will be on hand to give a special keynote address.

Keep reading to find out more about the upcoming event and what developers can gain from attending...

Image by Adario Strange/Next Reality

Snap Loses Another Executive Amid User Attrition

In a move sure to stir up even more speculation about the future of Snap Inc., the company's vice president of content, Nick Bell, is leaving the company after five years.

He's just the latest departure from the rapidly dwindling team of veteran executives at Snap. Bell was deeply involved in pioneering the company's move from a mere messaging app and into a destination media platform.

Read further for more details on Bell's departure and its implications for the future of Snapchat and its content strategy...

REALITY BITES: It turns out that Facebook's cloning of Snapchat's features, including its AR camera effects, may be having a real impact on Snap, Inc. besides competitive pressure. According to CNN, Snap has confirmed that the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued subpoenas as part of a class action lawsuit regarding the company's 2017 initial public offering. Specifically, the feds are looking to find out if the company mislead investors regarding the impact of competitors like Facebook and Instagram on Snapchat's growth.

Mojo Vision Closes $50M Funding Round for 'Invisible Computing' Platform

On Thursday, Mojo Vision, a startup comprised of former engineers from Apple, Amazon, Google, and other Silicon Valley mainstays, emerged from stealth backed by $50 million in funding for a hands-free augmented reality platform that runs without smartphones, tablets, or other devices.

Participating in the funding round as venture and strategic investors are Shanda Group, Khosla Ventures, NEA, Fusion Fund, Liberty Global Ventures, 8VC, Dolby Family Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Open Field Capital, and others.

The funding will enable Mojo Vision to build a software platform and underlying hardware for what the company calls an "invisible computing" paradigm. But what is invisible computing? And what will it run on? Continue reading for answers and speculation...

REALITY BITES: We've established a new section on Next Reality that aggregates all of the news on the business of augmented reality. So, if you're craving news on investments, executive arrivals and departures, market analysis, and the like, check out our AR Business section!

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 Adario Strange/Next Reality

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