According to job advertisements discovered by Protocol, Amazon plans to join other tech titans such as Apple, Google, and Meta in developing its own mass-market augmented reality product.
Computer vision, product management, and other related careers were among the many available. “XR/AR devices” and “an advanced XR research concept” were apparently mentioned. Several of the job listings included in Protocol’s report have now been withdrawn, while others have had specific language concerning products removed.
According to Protocol, the job description for the position of Sr. Technical Program Manager, New Products stated, “you will develop an advanced XR research concept into a magical and useful new-to-world consumer product.” “you will develop a magical and useful consumer product,” it now simply states, though it also adds, “our team specialises in inventing new-to-world, category creating products using advanced sensing, display, and machine learning technologies.”
To work on “think spatially, with 3D design experience in motion design, animation, AR/VR, games, architecture, or industrial design,” applicants needed to be able to “the core system interface along with end-user applications spanning from multi-modal interfaces to 3D AR entertainment experiences.”
Google, Microsoft, and Snap have all produced various AR wearables with varying degrees of success over the years, and they all appear to be working on new ones. Meanwhile, Apple employs a large team of engineers, researchers, and others who are working on mixed reality products, including mass-market consumer AR glasses, which is one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets. Over the last few years, Meta (previously Facebook) has made its plans to focus on AR quite obvious.
It’s not unexpected that Amazon is on the hunt for the same thing. According to Protocol, Amazon has formed a new R&D team managed by Kharis O’Connell, an executive who previously worked on augmented reality products at Google and elsewhere.
However, Amazon’s product may not be the same as what Meta and Apple have been working on; it may not even be a wearable. It’s referred to as a “smart home” device in several Amazon job advertising. Amazon is one of the tech businesses that has tried room-scale projection and holograms instead of wearables for augmented reality.
Given that many of the tasks described are ones involved early in the development process, the product, whatever form it takes, is likely many years away.