Dell today announced a partnership with Meta to expand the AR company’s distribution reach. Dell will begin selling the Meta 2 developer kits on behalf of Meta to help make AR “more accessible for business deployment.” The partnership should make it easier for Meta to break into new markets, including the healthcare, manufacturing, and construction industries.
"We're very excited for this partnership with Dell. Dell users will now have the opportunity to get their hands on a seamless AR solution that is considered the best on the market by many,” said Joe Mikhail, Chief Revenue Officer, Meta. "This is a major element of Meta’s ecosystem development initiatives. We are certain our partnership with Dell will deliver our game-changing technology into many creative hands and drive productivity measures to both developers and corporates alike.”
The Meta 2 AR headset has been around for a while now. We first got our hands on the device in March 2016, and we were amazed by what we saw. Around that same time, Meron Gribetz, Meta’s founder and CEO, presented a TED Talk in which he said that by March 2017, his entire company would give up their desktop displays in favor of Meta 2 headsets. We’re not sure if Meta’s workforce made that switch, but the company started selling the headset in December that year, so it’s entirely possible.
We expected to hear about a wonderful ecosystem of augmented reality software for the Meta 2 headset in 2017, but aside from an announcement that the Meta 2 SDK now supports Steam VR, we haven’t seen any software announcements for the platform. With any luck, 2018 will be the year we see compelling content for the Meta 2. At the very least, distribution through Dell should increase awareness around the product.
Dell said that several of its business-class Dell Precision Workstation PCs support the Meta 2 headset, and the company plans to offer the AR device in bundles with Dell computers. The company also plans to offer the Meta 2 headset bundled with the Dell Canvas drawing surface. In addition to offering the Meta 2 headset, Dell also plans to work with partners to “verify and certify the best software and hardware solutions for VR and AR applications.”
“We’re excited about this new partnership with Meta and the opportunity to further transform industries with AR,” said Rahul Tikoo, Vice President, and General Manager, Dell Precision workstations. “There continues to be tremendous potential for VR and AR across various industries, and in addition to building technology powerful enough for the job, we’re also committed to working with our innovative partners to make AR more comprehensive and accessible for our commercial customers to explore and adopt.”
Dell said that the Meta 2 headset would be available on Dell.com starting February 15. The Meta 2 retails for $1,495, which includes the HMD, a stand, a microfiber bag to store it in, and access to the developer kit and Meta developer center. Dell didn’t announce reveal any specific bundle packages.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.
The point about Dell selling it with their computers is key - unlike Hololens, this is not standalone. Sounds like it has SLAM inside-out tracking, but you'll have to pair it with a VR backpack (or a high-end laptop in a backpack).Reply