Magic Leap, a startup last valued at $4.5 billion (£3.58 billion), raised $1.4 billion (£1.11 billion) in funding by showcasing a prototype technology that likely won’t be used in its commercial product, according to a report by The Information’s Reed Albergotti.
The prototype, called “The Beast,” is described as a “rectangular, shoulder-width” box that let people see projected images overlaid against the real world by peeking into it.
Most of its investors, including Kleiner Perkins’ Bing Gordon, invested in Magic Leap after seeing the Beast, expecting the commercial product would be downsized to something that looked like glasses, the report said.
But the report claims that most of the technology used in the Beast won’t be in the product “now planned for commercial release,” citing former employees. It says that product won’t use the same lens, and likely won’t have the “same level of depth” as the Beast’s.
Magic Leap CEO Romy Abovitz told Albergotti that the prototypes are “not really what we’re ultimately going to be shipping” but it was a good way to show people “what was good about it, what was not.”
The report describes Magic Leap as going overboard with its marketing, overselling its technology and releasing videos that showed something it wasn’t really capable of doing yet.
Magic Leap is developing so-called augmented reality hardware that combines the real world with computer images, much like the way Microsoft’s Hololens works.