Magic Leap, the secretive Plantation, Fla.-based tech company that has raised more than $2 billion in venture capital to build sophisticated 3-D software, has finally gone live.
Wednesday, the company announced its first product is now available for purchase. But the average computer user isn't about to rush out and buy it. The Magic Leap One Creator Edition is being marketed to "developers and creators" at a retail price of $2,295. It's available online only in select cities.
The package comes with software and a headset that lets users add layers of computer-generated images and applications to the world around them. It also includes a web browser and a social platform to connect with other Magic Leap users.
The result: common programs like email and videos "float" in the real world in front of the user, reports CNBC, which got a preview.
"You aren't tethered to another computer," writes CNBC's Todd Haselton. "You can walk around freely (though I felt a bit weird with it on my head since it's like trying to walk around with swimming goggles on).
"It's hard to explain what it's like using Magic Leap, a problem the company has admitted."
Wired Magazine, which also got an early look, noted glitches..
" ... It wasn't great at first," Jessi Hempel reports. "The headset was beautiful, and unlike others I've tried, it felt light on my head. A disc-size battery and computing pack, built like a small CD, fit easily in my front pocket. A main menu popped up in front of me, the field of view large enough that it didn't seem narrow.
"But as great as this was, there were glitches. When I tried to use the hand controller to navigate to a football demo, the controller didn't respond; the experience appeared frozen."
Founder Rony Abovitz hailed the announcement's importance for Florida, which has pledged more than $8 million in subsidies to support the company. At last year's eMerge America's conference on Miami Beach, Abovitz said there were now approximately 800 Magic Leap employees in South Florida. The company's website still lists dozens of openings in Plantation. With its numerous venture funding rounds totaling billions, the company, founded in 2010, became South Florida's most buzzed-about startup of the decade.
"Florida has always been a blank canvas for innovation, and we hope to be one small part of that incredible story," he said in a statement. "Our launch of Magic Leap One Creator Edition begins the next chapter of our journey to empower creators in Florida, the U.S., and around the world. This is a joyful moment for all of our employees, and we look forward to working with a diverse and forward-thinking set of developers, artists, creators, and businesses right here in Florida and everywhere."
Magic Leap's viability had been questioned by observers after the company experienced delays and lawsuits, including sexual harassment and trade secrets complaints, - and a negative review by Beyonce, who reportedly found the version she tested boring after she got a sneak peak around the winter of 2016-2017.
In an interview with Wired published Wednesday, Abovitz said he regretted the hype that led up to the product rollout.
"I think we were arrogant," he said.
But the company still has plenty of believers. Last month, AT&T took a stake in the company that valued it at $6.3 billion.
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