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Magic Leap Plans to Expand to Mobile AR

Magic Leap is getting ready to embrace augmented reality (AR) on mobile devices. The company is currently looking to hire a senior software engineer for mobile AR, who will be tasked with “expanding Magic Leap’s platform to mobile devices,” according to a new job listing. A Magic Leap spokesperson declined to comment.

Magic Leap released its first hardware product, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition headset, last August. At the time, the company also published a mobile companion app that is meant to help Magic Leap owners to properly fit their headset, and assist them with text input and more.

However, this new mobile push seems go a lot further. The aforementioned job listing describes the duties of the company’s future mobile AR engineer this way:

“In this role, you will help build a cross-platform framework that enables large scale shared AR experiences between mobile devices (iOS, Android) and Magic Leap devices. Your work will include implementing high-performance, production quality AR and computer vision algorithms, and designing and building the Magic Leap mobile SDK.”

The job listing also specifies that applicants should have experience with ARKit and ARCore, the mobile AR frameworks developed by Apple and Google, respectively. However, it’s not clear whether Magic Leap plans to use ARKit and ARCore, or whether the company is looking to bring its own AR technologies to mobile devices.

This isn’t the first time Magic Leap has hinted at plans to offer some cross-platform functionality for AR developers. The company’s chief content officer Rio Caraeff suggested in an interview with Variety at the sidelines of the company’s Leapcon developer conference last year that this type of interoperability would be key to taking Magic Leap out of the home, and into shared spaces.

“No matter what happens, not everybody’s going to use Magic Leap,” he said. “And if there’s a 500 foot tall dragon in Central Park, you know we all want to see the dragon, not just the people with Magic Leap. And so we need an interoperability solution.”

Caraeff also suggested that mobile AR could help to educate developers about the technology. “We see it as a kind of training wheels to get a large quantity of developers comfortable and familiar with these concepts,” he said.

At the same time, Caraeff insisted that headsets will ultimately prevail over mobile AR.

“We don’t think holding up your phone and looking through your phone is a great experience,” he said.

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