Meta, formerly Facebook, has reportedly decided to not sell the first version of its full-fledged AR glasses, codenamed Orion, and will instead distribute them to developers.
A person familiar with the matter told The Verge that the tech giant has decided to distribute them to developers initially so they can build software experiences for the device and future versions.
The company is also shelving plans to release a smartwatch with a detachable display and two cameras in favor of a design better suited to control a later version of the glasses.
The first version of the AR glasses, which have been in development for three years, was always going to be geared toward developers and early adopters, but executives had not decided whether to sell them broadly until now, the person said.
Employees working in Meta’s Reality Labs division building VR and AR hardware were informed of the decision this week. The Information first reported the news on Thursday.
As The Verge detailed in April, Meta is working on three iterations of standalone AR glasses to debut over the next several years.
The decision to not sell version one was made because the device costs thousands of dollars to build and executives believe that certain specs, like display brightness, are not consumer-ready, the report said.
Not selling the glasses to consumers mimics the approach of Snap, which also isn’t selling its AR Spectacles glasses but is instead giving them to software developers, it added.
Version two of the glasses, codenamed Artemis, remains on track for a consumer release at a higher production volume with a less bulky design and more advanced display technology.
As soon as next year, Meta also still plans to release an entry-level, cheaper version of AR glasses, codenamed Hypernova, which will pair with a nearby phone to show incoming messages and other notifications through a smaller, heads-up display.