Facebook to make smartphone camera center of its augmented reality strategy

Facebook announced on April 18 at its F8 2017 developer conference that it plans to make the smartphone camera the center of its augmented reality strategy. In his keynote speech at the McEnery Convention Center in Jan Jose, California, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Think how many things we have in our lives that don’t need to be physical, they can be digital.”

Augmented reality is a layer of computer-generated imagery that overlays real world imagery. Zuckerberg, who was inspired by the hugely successful augmented reality game Pokemon Go, said he wants to take the technology mainstream by making it a more affordable alternative to a television set. Zuckerberg said, “We can put a digital TV on that wall, and instead of being a piece of hardware, it’s a $1 app, instead of a $500 piece of equipment.”

In addition to the popularity of the Pokemon Go augmented reality app, Snapchat is another app that has developed following by implementing the technology to generate entertaining visual effects on photos. These current applications are primitive, according to Zuckerberg, who believes the technology will take-off once developers create apps for Faceboopk’s in-app camera, as opposed to headsets or spectacles.

Google failed to grab people’s attention with its Google Glass optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses, and Microsoft’s $3,000 to $5,000 augmented reality headset HoloLens, is limited to developers and enterprises.

“In order to create better tools, first we need an open platform where any develop in the world can build for augmented reality without first having to build their own camera,” said Zuckerberg.