Facebook may be looking to reignite the OS wars in a big way: by creating its own operating system to take on Google and Apple. The Information reports that the company’s ambitions go far beyond just creating a new smart display or releasing a payment platform for its apps. If its desire to control the future of currencies (if things go its way) and transport us from this reality to a virtual one wasn’t enough of an indication of Mark Zuckerberg’s grand ambitions, The Information says the company is looking to create its own operating system, and possibly pursue an Apple-Esque model for first-party hardware in the future.
Per the report, a Facebook spokeswoman said plans are connected to the technology giant putting greater focus on its future products such as augmented reality (AR) glasses.
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“The focus of this work is on what’s needed for augmented-reality glasses. We’re looking at all options right now, which include partnering with other companies and building a custom OS designed for AR,” the spokesperson said.
It’s worth pointing out that Facebook’s last attempt at producing its own OS did not go so well. The attempt resulted in a forked version of Android that ran on an HTC-produced phone back in 2013. Flooding a phone with Facebook’s social feed was wildly unpopular even back before Facebook’s brand was tarnished with numerous privacy scandals. Facebook will have an uphill battle on its hands if it wants people to give its software another shot.
Now Facebook is hoping to learn from past mistakes as it ramps up its hardware efforts with a new office for the AR/VR team in Burlingame, 15 miles north of the company’s headquarters. The 770,000-square-foot space is designed to house roughly 4,000 employees. Facebook tells TechCrunch the team will move there in the second half of 2020 to make use of its labs, prototype space, and testing areas. The AR/VR team will still have members at other offices across California, Washington, New York and abroad.
Facebook has no plans to end development of its iOS and Android apps, but it’ll be interesting to see where this new project leads and whether its new direction proves more successful than Facebook Home.