According to a recent statement by Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook, the end of Smartphones and TVs is coming. At the recent F8 conference, Zuckerburg revealed the company’s 10-year plan. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.
A big part of the plan is augmented reality (think Pokémon Go and SnapChat) and with this, Zuckerburg unveiled the Camera Effects platform. This is a set of tools for developers to build augmented reality apps that you would be able to access from the camera inside the app. This could possibly open the door for Facebook to take on SnapChat and develop the next big augmented reality game.
Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don’t rely on the smartphones’ marketplaces. However, this time Facebook is basically taking on the entire Silicon Valley.
The End of TV
Zuckerburg not only challenged the idea of augmented reality, but also the idea of how we consume TV. During the presentation, he shared his vision where we will watch TV through standard looking glasses on a virtual screen in your TV room. But it’s not just TVs. This philosophy could extend to smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, fitness trackers, or anything else that has a screen or relies on one to work. Zuckerberg even showed off a street art installation that’s just a blank wall until you wave the Facebook camera app over it to reveal a mural.
For Microsoft, which has already dipped its toe in this area with its HoloLens holographic goggles, this is a foregone conclusion. HoloLens boss Alex Kipman recently called the demise of the smartphone the “natural conclusion” of augmented reality and its associated technologies.
But what will happen to the smartphone market then?
A big piece of the world’s economy is based on the production of phones, TVs, tablets and everything that Facebook wants to replace with this augmented reality.
In the short term, Facebook’s play for augmented reality is going to look a lot like competing with Snapchat — and in a meaningful way, it is. Facebook needs developer and user love, so it needs to keep offering fun and funny tools to keep people from moving away from using its apps.
In the long term, though, this is Facebook versus everybody else to usher in an age of a new kind of computing — and pretty much every tech company out there will get caught in the crossfire, as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more rush out their responses to this extremely existential, but still meaningful, threat.
This article was inspired by the original at EWN.