Facebook, after creating its dominion in the social media space with its bundle of apps – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — and venturing into the hardware space via its Oculus and Portal devices is now planning to dip its toes in the operating system space, a world that is dominated by Apple and Google.
According to a report by The Information (via The Verge), Facebook is working on developing its own operating system to power its future devices and reduce its reliance on Google’s Android OS. At present, the company’s Oculus VR sets and Portal smart displays are powered by a modified version of Android OS. The OS that is currently being developed by a team led by Microsoft veteran, Mark Lucovsky would reduce or even remove the company’s reliance on Google.
“We really want to make sure the next generation has space for us…We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re gonna do it ourselves,” Facebook’s head of hardware, Andrew Bosworth, told the publication.
It’s worth mentioning that Facebook’s prior attempt to building an OS wasn’t exactly a success. The Facebook Home was essentially a forked version of Android OS and it was available on a selection of HTC and Samsung devices in the US.
Coming back to the news update about Facebook, the company in addition to developing a brand new operating system, is also developing augmented reality powered glasses, codenamed “Orion”, which the company is expected to launch in 2023. Interestingly, that is the same time around which Apple is expected to launch its AR Glasses. The iPhone maker is expected to launch AR headset in 2022.
The report also suggests that the social media giant is also working on its own custom chips that a virtual assistant, a feature which it confirmed earlier this year. Bloomberg, in a report dating back to April 2019 had detailed similar plans for the company. The chip coupled with a new OS and a smarter virtual assistant (unlike M) seem like the receipe for an independent ecosystem, one that would making Facebook and its devices work function independently from Google’s (or any other company).