Amazon is working on an "AR world first"
VR and AR are picking up speed again. Now Amazon is also investing in its own XR team.
Amazon has recently been looking for professionals to develop and launch a yet-to-be-announced VR or AR product. The company has posted a variety of positions in areas such as computer vision, design, product management and research. Amazon is looking to build a "comprehensive team," according to job ads.
"You will develop an advanced XR research concept into a magical and useful consumer product that has never been seen before," one of the job postings says. Another job posting assigns the initiative to the XR/AR device class, where professionals will take on a wide range of tasks, from programming initial prototypes to mass production.
What's Amazon planning?
Interested candidates should be able to "think spatially" and have experience in 3D design, including areas such as AR and VR, as well as gaming. Amazon is also looking for a UX design professional to develop a system interface and apps that range from multimodal user interfaces to 3D AR entertainment.
So far, Amazon has only one product in its lineup that is related to the VR and AR category: the Echo Frames audio glasses, though they come without a display.
It is not clear from the job postings what kind of XR product Amazon has in mind. A real AR headset or a completely new device category in the smart home area with special VR or AR functions could be conceivable.
Initially, the focus could also just be on establishing a specialized division. This would allow Amazon to try out various new concepts or respond to market developments as needed.
Second springtime for VR and AR?
Things have been happening again in the VR and AR industry lately. The Meta Quest 2 VR headset sold millions of units, Sony's Playstation VR 2 is in the starting blocks, and a number of advanced augmented reality devices are planned for 2022 and 2023, which could give the market a new dynamic.
Meta is releasing a video AR headset this year (see Project Cambria), while Apple will likely debut a similar device in 2023. Google, Microsoft and Samsung are also reportedly working on AR headsets in this category. According to a leaked roadmap, the first real AR glasses branded Meta will follow in 2024.
The next few years should be exciting, and Amazon will not want to miss the boat if VR and AR become mainstream sooner than expected. So far, the company has kept a low profile, at least on the outside, and watched what's happening in the market.