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Meta Opens Up Horizon OS, Seeks Google Play Store Integration

Meta is making significant changes to its virtual reality platform to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.

According to a new press release from Meta, the company will allow other headset manufacturers to use its proprietary Horizon OS operating system on their products.

Horizon OS is built on top of Android, but it is optimized for the world of virtual and mixed reality. As Meta says, Horizon OS is now a “full mixed reality operating system.”

The functionality of Horizon OS is heavily dependent on the Meta app store, which hosts a plethora of apps and games specifically for Meta’s VR headsets.

In the near future, the Quest headset experience will be extended to other headsets. Meta has confirmed that it has partnered with two major brands: Asus ROG plans to use Horizon OS to create a new VR headset, while Lenovo will use the platform to build “mixed reality devices for productivity, learning, and entertainment.”

In terms of software, Meta has announced that its app store will soon host App Lab content, which is currently difficult to access.

App Lab allows developers to quickly run their apps on Quest headsets before they are officially released in the store. According to Meta, developers will also have access to a “new spatial app framework” to improve their mixed reality apps.

Meta has directly asked Google to launch the Play Store on Quest headsets: “Meta’s open approach to content gives users of its VR headsets a wide range of choices. Horizon OS users are not limited to the company’s proprietary store, but can also enjoy popular game services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.”

Meta has asked Google to bring the “two-dimensional Google Play app store” to the Meta Horizon OS operating system. With this move, the Google Play Store would be able to operate on Meta’s VR headsets with the same business model it uses on other platforms.

There have been previous reports of Meta asking Google to launch the Play Store on Quest headsets. Earlier in 2024, there were also reports of Google offering to partner with Meta on Android XR.

Meta’s recent request for Google to bring the Play Store to Horizon OS raises some questions. Meta claims that Google can launch the Play Store on this platform with the “same business model” that exists on Android. This could potentially lead to better monetization for developers compared to what has been reported for the Meta store.

However, it is worth noting Meta’s emphasis on the phrase “two-dimensional app store,” which suggests that VR apps may not run on the Play Store on Horizon OS.

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