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Details leak about Project Moohan, Samsung and Google's upcoming XR headset

Employees working on the headset aren't sure it'll wow customers like Apple's Vision Pro.
By

Published onAugust 23, 2023

samsung extended reality xr experience
TL;DR
  • Samsung and Google’s XR headset efforts are reportedly codenamed Project Moohan.
  • People close to the headset’s development feel it won’t be ready to challenge Apple’s Vision Pro even by 2024.
  • Meanwhile, Google is reportedly looking for partners for its own XR software for glasses.

After abandoning its own Augmented Reality glasses efforts under Project Iris, Google is now working hard with Samsung to create an Extended Reality (XR) headset. A fresh report from Business Insider has dished out the inside scoop about the device and where it’s at in terms of development.

According to the publication, the Samsung-branded XR headset is internally codenamed “Project Moohan” at Google. The Mountain View-based tech giant is building Android XR software for the headset, as it previously confirmed. The efforts are so secretive that Google has walled off its own in-house hardware teams from being privy to the project.

The report describes it as a “political headache” within Google. Samsung was apparently concerned that other AR teams within Google — currently working on a “Micro XR” software platform for third-party manufacturers, amongst other things — would build a competing product based on information from Project Moohan.

Samsung XR headset: More delays in store?

Samsung XR headset prototype leak 2

Samsung’s tight grip over the development of the XR headset and its features has also resulted in a situation where nobody is sitting in the driver’s seat, according to a person close to the project.

A South Korean publication previously reported that Samsung has postponed the launch of the headset due to fears it won’t match up to Apple’s Vision Pro. People close to the project are affirming the same. The latest report says that leaders within Google have informed staff about the delay. The headset is expected to launch around the summer of 2024. However, employees at Google feel that’s still not enough time to make a product that’ll wow the public.

“It definitely doesn’t provide enough buffer to come close to the Vision Pro,” a Google staffer told Business Insider.

This begs the question — Will Samsung and Google end up releasing a half-baked XR headset just to have a competing product against Apple’s Vision Pro? Or will they delay the project further to ensure they have a solid product to bring to the market? We’ll have to wait and watch.

Google’s own XR software

In the meantime, Google is working separately on its own AR glasses software. The Micro XR software project is reportedly being tested on monocular glasses codenamed “Betty.” Google also has a binocular version of the same, codenamed “Barry.” According to a person familiar with the roadmap, glasses with Google’s XR software are expected to hit the market by 2025 at the earliest. Leaders at Google have asked staff to secure partners for the software as soon as this year. Insiders speculate Samsung could be the first partner.