When the deal was signed In March 2020 Facebook struck a deal to buy all the augmented reality displays made by British firm Plessey. Plessey was one of the few makers of AR displays.
Three years on, however, the deal has turned into a bust for Meta as Plessey's technology development has stalled.
Meta could not make Plessey's displays bright enough for use in its AR glasses under development and to reduce defects that crop up in the manufacturing process. Earlier this year, Meta abandoned Plessey's microLED tech in favour of older display technology, liquid crystal on silicon or LCoS. The decision is one of several Meta has made, for either technological or cost-saving reasons, that will reduce the AR glasses' edge over existing AR headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens.
The Tame Apple Press cites the case as proof that Apple has won control of the AR and virtual reality market even if it has yet to get a product into the shops.
“The episode highlights the twists and turns Meta is navigating as it tries to stay ahead of Apple and other rivals in the still-developing market for AR and virtual reality,” wrote one rather smug Apple fanboy.
Technical setbacks have forced Meta to delay the timeline for releasing AR glasses multiple times, and it isn't anticipating releasing a pair of AR glasses to the public until at least 2027.