Meta Misjudges the AWE Tone

We met with Meta, which had made a presentation at last week’s SID Business Conference (IC9 Meta Moves on From Kickstarter) and at AWE the company was running demos in its suites. Unfortunately, the organisation of these demos was causing trouble with timings and in front of me a group got to the point of threatening to go away (although they had placed for orders for the company’s products) if they got delayed or diverted again!

That was partly because the company would not allow multiple people (even from the same company) to be in the room while it demonstrated “the Meta Experience”. The staff from the company explained that they probably would ask the same questions, so time would be saved, but it was one at a time, or nothing.

I had the dubious honour of getting that experience. There was clearly a rehearsed ‘patter’ that I found irritating at best. For example, at one point during my demonstration, the Meta staff member said “you can’t even see the pixels”. Well, I could. That seemed to confuse him.

The company’s headset is very big and does have a wide field of view, but that may be the issue with the pixels – the imager is probably over-magnified. I also thought that the optics suffered somewhat at the edges compared to, for example, the Microsoft Hololens. The Meta headset was touted as being able to access multiple desktops to be used for ‘virtual computing’ and that was demonstrated in the suite. However, the gesture tracking, which is a big part of the product, was not working well. In the end, it was suggested that I, literally, roll up my sleeves, in case reflections from my shirt were causing trouble. It seemed to improve things, but I was still unimpressed.

There seemed to be a big bundle of cables to connect between the PC that was driving the headset and the user. That limited motion, considerably.

Analyst Comment

The A/R market is a professional market at the moment and the AWE event is a professional event. The Meta company seems to be focused on consumers and the ‘Experience’ was a clear attempt to build some ‘hype’ and that clashed with the event and was unconvincing. I really wanted to enjoy this demonstration, given my long term interest in user interfaces, but sorry, this was not the compelling demo that the company hoped to provide. (BR)