Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cancelled my Meta Spaceglasses Pre-Order

...And I feel sick about it.

I don't want anybody to get the wrong idea.  I still think these guys have an amazing product in the works, one which definitely has the potential to be a game changer.  But a number of factors have pushed me to hold off on putting down money on this.  Rather than rehashing exactly what those factors are, let me just post my conversation with Meta on the matter:
META: Thanks for stopping by! Can I help you with anything?
MATT: hi!
yes, first, I love the new site
very nice
and second
I'm one of those preorders, but I understood when I ordered it in september that they would be delivered in december
is that no longer the case?
META: You mean meta1?
MATT:  yep 
META: Meta1 will be shipped at March 2014
MATT: so nothing will be shipped before that?
MATT: and those people who pre-order now, they're not preordering meta1?
also, what is this high power pocket computer? Is this something that comes with the meta 1?
META: Not coming with meta1
only comes with meta pro.
ultra thin see through optics 40 degrees field of view, for both displays, aligned for stereoscopic 3D 720p HD, for each display fully customizable prescription High
fidelity 3D surround earphones The most versatile sensor array: Infra-red time of flight real time 3D scanner Dual RGB(video/photo) Sensors 9-axis tracking
(accelerometer, gyroscope, compass) Dual Microphones The most powerful wearable computer: i5 CPU 4GB RAM 128GB Storage WiFi 802.11n Bluetooth 4.0 32WHr battery .
MATT: i see... Also, is the meta 1 23 degrees fov total, or each eye?
META: no, for both eyes.
MATT: so google glass is 15 degrees fov, and meta 1 is 23
i'd like to cancel my preorder, if that's alright
to whom should i send my information? or could i just tell you and you do it
META: Can I ask the reason you want to cancel your pre-order?
MATT: sure. first, i should say i really think you guys have an amazing product in the works
and i hope down the line, i'll be picking one up
but i think there's a definite lack of communication going on
obviously you guys are extremely busy
but it's leading to a lot of speculation
and one thing i don't want is to pay nearly 700$ for something i thought was different
META: lack of communication means...?
MATT: no updates,  or very irregular ones
no sdk
no response to emails for weeks
no forum
META: I am sorry about that.
MATT: i mean, there's no real way to get good informatioin
it's not your fault
META: we are busy on SDK
MATT: i think everybody understands that
META: we will release SDK on March 2014
MATT: and i'll use it then
but not with the glasses
i mean, here's the other thing
before the dev kit is even created you guys have the next version
and i definitely don't want to buy a crappy version when what is being invested in is version 2
take the oculus rift
they pushed out that nice dev kit
very good
and once they were nearly done with that, they started working on the consumer version/dev kit 2
dev kit 2 will be out soon, and with nearly all the features of the consumer version
META: we use the same sdk on meta1 and meta pro
MATT: but aside from the drastically different fov and the hd quality, and the look and feel, is there anything else missing from meta 1?
i wouldn't want to have a dev kit that is missing a bunch of sensors
and camera features
and the other thing. is $3,000 the price you guys are aiming for for the consumer version?
if that's the case, it's not what I was signing up for
i wanted to develop for something that undercuts glass, not overshoots it
META: meta1 is for developer without wearable pc
metaPro is an ultra high end early adopter device with shipping finished applications. The developer edition is an early release of meta1 for developers to start
building apps with the most advanced augmented reality hardware as soon as possible. Key differences are a much large FOV, much lighter weight product, much broader
array of sensors providing enhanced synchronization between digital content and the real world and a distilled sensor capability allowing us to deliver an even more
ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing design.
MATT: i agree, it looks great
but is that the price you'll be selling it to the masses for?
if so, I'd like to cancel my preorder
META: no
MATT: :) no?
META: final product will have different version let people to choose.
one of them is sell glasses without wareable pc
MATT: how much would that cost?
you see, the cost is VERY MUCH a factor here
i don't want to invest in programming for a device which might not reach the number of people i am hoping for
so the question is, how much less is the non-wearable pc version?
and when would that be available?
META: I can't tell you the actual price, but our goal is to sell final product at least the same price as meta1 or lower
MATT: what is the target date for the final product?
META: still working on it , meta pro will release at Jun 2014, after that, is final product.
MATT: i'm afraid i still think i'd like to cancel. Again, no fault of yours. You've answered everything i asked, and i think the potential is there for a great final
product. But i want to see how things proceed over the next... say, 9 months before putting money in on this
i think there will be serious changes to the product that i will be developing for, and i don't really see a need to start my testing on the earliest version
META: To cancel your request, You can send an email to
MATT: k, will do. I really hope that you guys succeed with this. it looks amazing
META: Thanks. I hope we will be able to remove your doubts and make a product that surpasses your expectations.
MATT: that would be great. good luck


  1. Matt,

    Thanks for posting this. I'm going to vent a little bit if that's ok. It's funny to me how this all plays out. It seems that they have made a lot of progress looking at their work. But the issue is that they seem to consistently over promise and under deliver. In reality they haven't delivered anything. The "12.16.13 | Get ready for the next step." really meant "Get ready to wait six more months before anything happens" The delivery date keeps getting pushed back. Last year it was August 2013, then September, then November, then January 14. I have little confidence that they will have this new version in June 14. They may have the meta1 version by that time but who knows. The page still says they will be starting delivery in Dec 2013. Oops.

    I understand the price point concern. For my industry $3000 is nothing for what this can do for us, but for general consumption, $3000 is a joke. They want to virtually replace a laptop and a phone. But these are not objects that really need to be replaced. They do their jobs very well and for much less that $3000. If they want to charge that price they will need a much better "killer app". Mirroring an iphone is not a "killer app." The website now looks "cooler" but has honesty issues. It claims that there are 500 apps for the device. That's just plain not true. There are, maybe, 500 ideas for apps that people have posted but most of those posts seem to be from non-programmers just putting out their idea about an app they would like someone else to make for them. Also, a large percentage of these "apps" are copies of each other.

    When you don't make a production date that's a big deal. It happens all of the time. But they need to come out and explain why, apologize, and explain how you will hit the new date. None of that has happened. They just blow through these dates as if it doesn't impact their credibility. Atheer seems to have the right idea in this regard. They plan to have a product by Dec 14. And as they haven't blown through production dates yet, I have more reason to believe them.

    Like you say. They really need a forum on their website where these discussions can happen and they can make these types of announcements without effecting the advertising they do on their main pages.

    I'm also trying to figure out the relationship with Lumus. It's obvious to me that the Pro version is using Lumus' 40 FOV military optics. They even had a Lumus transplant holding a position on their main page. I think he was working as finance officer or something. But he's gone from the page now.

    1. Benn, thanks for your comment here. You've added perfectly what I left unsaid.

      About Atheer Labs, I hadn't heard of them. Aside from being more forthcoming about their product, how would you say they compare to Meta?

    2. It's hard to say. Atheer had been distantly on my radar. It looks like they have made a lot of progress over the past few months. Their demo video shows more actual environmental uses of the technology than meta's videos. Atheer is focusing mostly on the mobile phone / Android market and their real focus has been mostly software to merge AR with existing Android applications. Now, they've branched out into hardware. Their first prototypes were very bulky but they have some good software capabilities. I think their tracking system is pretty robust. It may be better than Meta but that's impossible to say at this point.

      The Atheer video has some technical problems. There is a lot of the color black and grey in their demo video. But most of these optic systems are generating light images so black is impossible. Black == transparent. The video has black as occlusive. But their demo video wouldn't look nearly as good if they made it accurate. Meta's videos don't look as good visually but part of this is that they are more accurate about the color black in their videos.

      Atheer is using dual RGB cameras (5MP for the dev version and 8MP for the consumer version). So no TOF camera. But given the known accuracy issues with SoftKinectic's TOF camera in the meta1 the Atheer solution maybe better. Neither one has published any calibration/tracking data. Meta for their part hasn't even performed basic calibration/tracking quantification. (see earlier comment in the metabits post) Atheer has a developer part of their website that you have to create an account for. I haven't made an account and I'm not sure what an account gets you (i.e. forums, tutorials, etc) If you find out let me know. At this point, I'm not sure which direction to lead my group. We can stick with meta or try to move on to Atheer. In reality, I just want something in my hands so I can get to work.

    3. This site probably will answer most of your questions about Atheer:

    4. We also order some of the Meta1's getting very frustrated and happy I found this post. We have been emailing and emailing with no replies. They are going to lose a lot of customers if they don't start telling their customers who bought into this what is going on. Like you guys I have been waiting waiting without even knowing what is going on. Even reading this post now it is March 2014 and still no responses or any type of information regarding when this will even become available.

    5. Hi Matt R,

      Yeah so I'm pretty frustrated with Meta. My research team bought a Meta01 back in September. Nothing so far. I have been watching these guys like a hawk and I've studied most everything they have released in way of promo material and videos. I know quite a bit about the underlying technology because my team has been working with a prototype of our own construction until we can get something better.

      I think everyone has to make their own decisions on this. For us, we've kept our pre-order with meta and we bought a Dev Kit from Atheer. It's taking a little bit of work to move our work and hardware from a Windows system to Android but at least Atheer has an SDK out right now and that we can work on right now.

      I think ultimately Atheer's model is the right one. The tracking capabilities of Vuforia and the ease of build of Unity make Atheer a pretty unbeatable package. The support of the entire existing library of 2D android apps is just icing on the cake.

      What's more is that Atheer has been patenting their stuff:

      and reading through their patents, it's obvious to me that Meta will be in violation of Atheer's patents once they are granted. I don't know how Meta will be able to survive as a company in the face of this. Meta's stuff is more expensive, seems to be capable of less, and we have no idea when it will materialize.

  2. A fun update, Atheer glasses will now be delayed so Meta may come out before them.

    8 weeks is two months from now, the developer kits are supposed to ship in June and we won't know what the revised schedule is until then.

    I was really hyped to get an Atheer because I think running off the android operating system is a great feature but looks like I'll just wait until there is a real product that someone has done a review on instead of preordering and having to accept release pushbacks.

  3. Yes IslandMan93 you are correct existing Atheer orders are going to be slightly delayed and new orders are now pushed into 2015. But in my mind there is a world of difference between the two companies. Atheer immediately sent out a letter to everyone explaining what the delay was (a component supplier pulled out) and what they were doing about it. Also they told everyone about this months before the actual proposed delivery date. Meta on the other hand just blows right through the delivery dates, provides no explanation, and no solution provided as to what they are doing to correct it. Instead they keep talking about Iron Man this skeuomorphic non-sense of mirroring an iPhone interface on to a transparent display.

  4. We have ordered a Meta Dev. Edition in December 2013 and so far (July 2014) nothing has been shipped. We tried to contact them but with no answer. How did you manage to speak to/contact them? It is not clear from the website how to withdraw an order, since there are no terms of contract on the website. Thanks for your help.

    1. I caught them a few times on their site while they were monitoring that online chat and made my cancellation that way.

      It's really sad, this whole thing. My firm belief is that these guys have a smart team of developers and engineers, but not one iota of business sense. None of them know how to run a company, and they are screwing themselves in the short term because of this.

  5. Sept 2014 and still nothings shipped. I'm literally kickstarter backer #1. It wouldn't be quite so frustrating if they weren't running around, talking about all the amazing things "I can do with" meta.... if I actually had one. 1.5 years now and they're partying with my money.

  6. Well, I had a look at Meta's products in February, I missed the Kickstarter. It looks brilliant, but as aforementioned, they aren't forthcoming with information. I just sent an email about software specifications and pricing, and it is promised that details will return in '1-2 business days'. It's December 2nd, and yet it's unknown whether any copies of Meta 1 have shipped. The website is redesigned again and looks fancy...but there's still no specifics. Nothing is said about what happened to the approved 'Killer Apps'. I'm still very interested in the product, but the uneven updates and vague information is really getting to me.

  7. It has shipped. I got my hands on my unit just a few days ago, but you might want to check out these forums (if you can get access) before you commit. Let's just say that I'm not impressed and i'm not sure if my time or money were well spent yet.!/general

  8. A couple of things in relation to some of the hardware mentioned above. I was a backer of the Atheer One on Indiegogo. Unfortunately even though the campaign was successful they refunded everyone's money and said they were not going to release a consumer version. I backed the Meta 1 back in May 2013, I received it in January 2015. The problem with the device at the moment is the FOV, I can see AR is going to be more difficult to solve than VR. I know it is a first device and a dev kit but it does have limited potential and it is hard to see a jump from a dev kit to a consumer version, a version a consumer would actually want.

    If I was looking at getting into AR devices right now I would wait for Magic Leap to develop their glasses because I think they are heading on the right direction in being able to do real AR, occlusion included.

  9. As you told in this post that why you had cancelled your order, it seems too genuine.

    computer glasses