Magic Leap is not dead and even promises to come back to the fore from 2022. The start-up has just succeeded in a major fundraising and evokes the arrival of a new “helmet” of augmented reality.
We thought she was gone, but Magic Leap has more than one trick up its sleeve. The American start-up founded in 2010 has long made the tech world salivate with its mixed reality headset project. Presented as revolutionary, it has attracted the attention of giants like Google, Alibaba and Qualcomm. A success that has led the company to multiply pledges and fundraising (nearly $ 3 billion).
The long wait around this product, however, dissipated the craze at the time of its release. Launched in the summer of 2018, the Magic Leap One met expectations in terms of design, but its high price ($ 2,295) and the decision to offer a functional version rather dedicated to developers were not convincing. The site The Information indicated in 2019 that the mixed reality headset had only sold 6,000 copies six months after its release.
The young company’s false promises have undoubtedly dampened the expectations of many users. Indeed, the videos published by Magic Leap were not representative of the experience actually offered by the headset. A failure for its founder Rony Abovitz, who hoped to sell at least 1 million units, before revising his disproportionate ambitions downwards, to 100,000 sales a year. This objective was not reached either and the site The Verge recalls that the firm laid off 1,000 employees in 2020, or about half of its workforce. In this complicated context, we hardly had any illusions about the continuation of the Magic Leap adventure, which in the process would have abandoned its general public activity. Even co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz ended up jumping ship in May 2020.
Magic Leap still has funds and ambitions
Before leaving and being replaced by Peggy Johnson, he had nevertheless raised $ 350 million to revive the machine. Magic Leap is therefore very much alive and still as ambitious. The company has raised another $ 500 million and is preparing to launch its new augmented reality (AR) headset. Called Magic Leap 2, this second-generation product is slated to take the form of a pair of AR glasses and release in 2022.
From “Selected customers” already have the opportunity to test prototypes, says Magic Leap. The firm assures that this new investment will help it “Focus on the development of powerful and efficient augmented reality solutions for businesses”. In an interview with the CNBC channel, the general manager of Magic Leap confides her ambition to continue her “Growth trajectory while developing cutting-edge augmented reality technology”.
To convince and try to deal with Microsoft’s HoloLens, Magic Leap ensures that its second helmet will be “The smallest and lightest device designed for the business sector”. The Magic Leap 2 should especially offer a field of vision greater than that of the first model. Now turned towards professionals, Magic Leap has not completely abandoned the idea of convincing the general public. “There continues to be strong interest in Magic Leap technology in consumer applications. In fact, we have received several license applications for our technology and we will seize these opportunities if they allow us to consolidate our position and our ability to innovate in the business market ”, assures Peggy Johnson. On her LinkedIn page, she also talks more about her projects and her adventure at the head of the company.