Google reportedly gave up on its own augmented reality headset

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Google’s “Iris” augmented/virtual reality headset may never see the light of day.

A new report(opens in a new tab) by Business Insider, which cites three people familiar with the matter, claims Google gave up on building the product earlier this year, despite having worked on it for several years.

We first heard of Iris in January last year, when The Verge reported that the company is building a battery-powered, Android-based AR headset that resembles ski goggles (sound familiar?). The headset was supposed to run on Google’s Tensor chip and have external cameras that could help place virtual objects in the user’s real-life field of view.

It all sounds very similar to Apple’s Vision Pro, which was recently announced after (reported) internal delays, but it appears that Google decided to take a different approach after all.

According to Business Insider, Google was internally working on two different AR products, with the “ski goggles” being a foundation for a product Google jointly announced with Samsung and Qualcomm this February. That one still has a chance of happening.

Iris – the one that’s reportedly been canceled – resembled regular glasses.

Google is an AR pioneer, having launched Google Glass in 2013, before canceling it as a consumer-facing product just two years later. The company brought it back as a business-oriented product in 2017, but that died too in March 2023. If this new report is accurate, Iris was a continuation of Google’s tradition of launching (or thinking about launching) AR glasses, and then giving up on it.

Instead of building a hardware AR headset, Google will instead focus on building a software platform for AR, with other manufacturers building actual headsets for the platform.



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