AT&T Taps Into Mixed-Reality With Magic Leap

July 11, 2018

By: Madison Alworth

Consumers finally got a demo of the first physical product out of secretive start-up Magic Leap this week when the company live-streamed a test of its Magic Leap One.

The demonstration of the headset, which projects holograms into the real world, got decidedly mixed reviews, though. More than 11,000 viewers on game-streaming platform Twitch watched as a presenter played "Dodge," trying to avoid or block rocks being thrown by an artificial Golem. One compared it to a "cheap AR kit game on the App Store".

Part of the disappointment stemmed from the fact that the device is aimed at developers, not everyday gamers, according to Ed Baig, personal tech columnist at USA TODAY.

"This first device is pitched to creators. It's not a consumer device just yet," Baig said in an interview with Cheddar on Wednesday

Still, the demo was a far cry from the highly-produced video the company released to much fanfare in 2015. Excitement around that presentation helped Magic Leap bring in billions of dollars in investments ー the company has gotten $2.3 billion in funding to date ー but may have misled many to believe its technology was further along in its development than it really was. According to The Information, the presentation was edited by special effects company Weta Workshop, the studio behind "Mad Max: Fury Road," and "The Hobbit."

So fans were hotly anticipating their first look at an actual product from the company ー and its true capabilities.

Magic Leap said on Wednesday the headsets would ship sometime this summer, only slightly more specific than the target of later this year. No word yet on how much it will cost.

As for specs for the Magic Leap One, the company said it will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra X2 processor. AT&T will be the exclusive provider of data services for the device. The deal also includes an equity investment from the wireless company. Customers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco will even get to demo the tech at some AT&T stores.

"The fact that AT&T announced an investment in the company as well as saying they would be the exclusive U.S. wireless provider for this thing suggests that it really is real ー finally," said Baig.

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