Meta announced that it will be making its own augmented reality (AR) silicon in collaboration with chipset designer MediaTek.

This partnership was announced at MediaTek’s 2023 Executive Summit in California, on 16 November 2023.

Meta and MediaTek’s partnership on co-developing chipsets is a shot in the arm for the AR segment, showing the vital strategic position of AR in Meta’s path ahead. This is Meta’s second big collaboration with MediaTek, after the August 2023 announcement that Meta’s Llama 2-based AI large language models (LLM) will be used in MediaTek’s processors for on-device AI.

Meta is bullish on AR, and smart AR glasses with their unobtrusiveness are widely expected to be the next frontier in tech hardware. But AR glasses are not without problems. Shrinking AR’s immersive tech into consumer-friendly hardware has been the biggest challenge facing companies in this sector, leading to some innovative approaches.

For example, Lumus, an Israeli AR optics company, has worked on shrinking its waveguide technology to only a few millimeters in size, so that it can be fitted into a corner of an eyeglass lens. The future potential for inconspicuous AR products – for example, glasses, which stand out far less than headsets and are easier to wear – in consumer settings is big, perhaps not as much as a smartphone right now, but iteratively building on features and ability as networks mature will drive AR device growth. GlobalData estimates that smart glasses alone, which include AR glasses, will bring in revenues of $2.3 billion by 2030.

Meta support is vital for AR development

But mainstream AR glasses won’t happen without support from big tech companies like Meta. Working with Qualcomm’s rival, MediaTek, one of the top chipset vendors globally, will provide Meta with relatively more control over implementing its AR vision using MediaTek’s silicon versus using Qualcomm’s silicon.

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By GlobalData

Meta has tried creating its own mixed reality (XR) system on a chip (SoC) in recent times without much success, and is rightfully leaving hardware design to the experts. Meta has been working with Qualcomm on all things XR. The entry of MediaTek, one of the foremost chipset companies and a major Qualcomm rival, brings more competition to this segment. Combined with the hoopla around Apple’s Vision Pro AR headset, added rivalry in AR hardware will move the industry forward, which is what this sector needs.