In a nutshell: What's better than an Oculus Quest that runs on the Android operating system? An Oculus Quest that doesn't run on Android OS. At least that is what Facebook thinks. It is planning to build an operating system from scratch and has employed a former Windows NT author to do it.
Facebook has hired Mark Lucovsky to build an original operating system to be used with its Android-dependent devices like the Oculus and planned AR glasses. Lucovsky is one of the original co-authors of Windows NT.
The move is to bring more control of its devices in-house. Having an independent OS will allow Facebook to make improvements when it sees fit rather than waiting around on Google to fix things.
Developing its own operating system will also increase the company’s trust that its hardware is not being hampered intentionally by its competitors.
“We really want to make sure the next generation has space for us,” Facebook’s Vice President of Hardware Andrew Bosworth told The Information. “We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re gonna do it ourselves.”
Facebook wants to start by tailoring the OS for operation on augmented reality glasses. The company told TechCrunch that it is not limiting its development to just Lucovsky’s work. The social media firm is looking into partnerships with other unnamed companies to further the development of its AR goals.
The company is poised to open a new 70,000sqft AR/VR office in Burlingame, CA, just north of its headquarters in Menlo Park. When the site becomes operational in the second half of 2020, it will staff around 4,000 employees to work on AR/VR prototypes and conduct testing.
The company did not mention a timeframe for when it expected to have an OS built.