Facebook is now aiming to dip its toes into the operating system room, an environment dominated by Apple and Google, after establishing its supremacy in the social media space with its package of applications – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger – and venturing into the hardware space through its Oculus and Portal headsets.
Facebook is working on developing its own operating system to operate its future apps and the its dependency on Google’s Android OS, according to a report by The Information (via The Verge). Currently, Oculus VR sets and Portal smart displays are operated by a modified version of Android OS. The OS is being developed by a team led by Microsoft veteran Mark Luc.
“We really want to make sure that the next generation has scope for us… We don’t think we can trust the industry or rivals to make sure that’s the case. So we’ll do that ourselves,” Facebook hardware chief Andrew Bosworth told the release.While designing a brand new operating system, Facebook is also developing augmented reality powered glasses, codenamed “Orion,” which is planned to be launched by the company in 2023. Ironically, Apple is expected to launch its AR Glasses at the same time. It is planned that the iPhone manufacturer will launch the AR headset in 2022.
The study also reveals that the social media giant also acts as a virtual assistant on its own custom chips, a feature that it confirmed earlier this year. Bloomberg had similar plans for the company outlined in a study dating back to April 2019. The chip coupled with a new OS and a smarter virtual assistant (unlike M) appears to be the recipe for an autonomous ecosystem that would make Facebook and its devices work independently of Google’s (or any other company).
It should be remembered that the previous attempt by Facebook to create an OS was not exactly a success. The Facebook Home was essentially a forked version of Android OS and was available on a range of US-based HTC and Samsung smartphones.