back to article More money than sense? Saudi Arabia invests $400m in Magic Leap

Throwing caution to the wind, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia has sunk $400m into augmented-reality biz Magic Leap. Despite a history of over-promising and under-delivering – to put it mildly – the Florida-based company continues to attract funding, pulling in just under $1bn in its fourth round of financial infusions. It …

  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Holmes

    Can't help feeling that the charlatans at ML are potentially making a lot of dangerous enemies who have shown themselves in the past to be enthusiastic about extra-legal sanctions. Of course, they may just be a poor misunderstood group of genii.

  2. se99paj

    A Hologram for the King

    I think they just watched the Tom Hanks movie - "A Hologram for the King"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hey Saudi Arabia

    Spare a quid mate, not an actual pound, the equivalent.

  4. trevorde

    Taking investments now!

    Hey Saudi Arabia, would you like to invest in my AR, IoT, AI powered, reality filters? It's based on the blockchain technology and has a cloud based, ML infrastructure. With a small, $6B USD investment, we expect to develop our prototype (see attached video) into a production ready model withing 12 months. This thing is going to revolutionise everything and you can get in early with a minor investment!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Taking investments now!

      You forgot to mention, it also functions as a bridge.

      1. Oengus Silver badge

        Re: Taking investments now!

        You forgot to mention, it also functions as a bridge.

        An AR bridge so you can see it in front of you but you can't walk or drive on it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Taking investments now!

      You forgot to mention DevOps.

      Anyway, is it organic?

    3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Taking investments now!

      trevorde, you lost the tender.

      revolutionise everything is probably not exactly what Saudis like to hear. You'd rather promise huge profits or ruling Shias to get their money.

    4. MonkeyNuts.Com

      Re: Taking investments now!

      Are you looking for a job?

      Call me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see the emperor has some new clothes.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I see the emperor has some new clothes."

      Has? Don't you mean "claims to have"

  6. &rew

    Category shift

    When will stories featuring Magic Leap finally be moved from "Emergent Tech" to "Bootnotes"?

    Sooner rather than later, I propose.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Category shift

      Hah! You'll eat your words when it comes out, is cheaper and better than Occulus Rift and doesn't need to phone home to find out of date security certs to stop it booting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Category shift

        Saudis have decreed that all critics of Magic Leap get a whipping

  7. imanidiot Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Hype builds hype

    It seems these investment funds only look at hype. The problem is that hype is never a good indicator as to what is and isn't a good product, and as more investments happen because of hype, the hype builds and more investments are made. And since so many investments are being made there must be something to this hype right? So more hype!

    ===> Another example of all hype and no substance ==>

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, back in the real world:

    Meanwhile, Microsoft seem to be fairly open about their push into the AR market, and are aiming it at niche areas - businesses, architectural visualization - instead of promising to supplant the multi-billion dollar movie and video game markets. MS's headset has been widely demonstrated in public, and seems fit for purpose. The bulky size is a plausible enclosure for the sensors, screens and silicon required - MS aren't claiming the impossible by saying it'll fit into a pair of sunglasses. The price is fair in the historical context of CAD hardware.

    Apple have characteristically kept their explorations in this area to themselves, other than Cook hinting that it's an interesting area but he doesn't believe that the technology yet exists to make a compelling consumer product. However, their recent iPhone silicon (post Imagination Technologies) suggests they have some good building blocks.

    Who knows, maybe the consumer breakthrough might come from a dark horse like Nintendo? They have form for packaging less than state of the art kit into fun products (see N64, Wii) and they aren't afraid to experiment (VirtualBoy, 3DS). The one extant AR gaming fad came out of Nintendo IP - Pokémon Go on iPhones. Hmmm, Nintendo were at a recent Apple Keynote (Mario on iPhone) and their respective product portfolios largely complement each other...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, back in the real world:

      "The bulky size is a plausible enclosure for the sensors, screens and silicon required - MS aren't claiming the impossible by saying it'll fit into a pair of sunglasses. "

      It does seem odd that they mostly all seem to think putting all the tech into the headset to make big, bulky, heavy and uncomfortable units is the target though. What;s wrong with putting all in a belt mounted box and just running leads up for video and sensors? Minimise what needs to go on the head.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, back in the real world:

        Good question, let's work through it.

        -If we take the optics to be a given, then it is possible that placing mass at the back of the helmet might improve the balance. It's the turning moment ( mass X distance from fulcrum) that people might notice, not just the weight.

        -if we assume SoCs weigh naff-all, then extra weight is battery.

        -clipping battery on belt is extra bit of faff in addition to faff if putting in the helmet. If the use-case is to show a client / boss new idea for ten minutes then minimal faff is good.

        -if the use case is working for longer periods with colleagues in a design, then having battery on headset is not mutually exclusive to extra battery on belt. Battery in headset allows for hot-swapping of belt batteries.

        Remember, MS have learnt from the public backlash against Google Glass so aren't trying to make a device to be used in public.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    No doubt about it, Abovitz is really good at what he does.

  10. Christian Berger Silver badge

    What's actually scary...

    ... is that we allow companies to have so much money that spending 400millions is just peanunts to them. Just imagine how much good you could do with that kind of money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's actually scary...

      Sorry, but from my understanding this is a County.... not a Company...

      BTW.. stop coveting your neighbors wealth.

  11. Mr Dogshit
    Headmaster

    "a circular disc"

    Hmmm

  12. Boohoo4u

    I wish I was a BS artist!

  13. mark 58

    Why does this remind me so much of .....

    The hype surrounding the launch of the Segway ?? Gonna change the world, bigger than the PC, etc.. even the same venture funding driven excitement. That was, of course, a $5000 dog - In the famous words of George Santayana ;Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why does this remind me so much of .....

      "The hype surrounding the launch of the Segway ??"

      Maybe not the success the hype claimed, but I'll see your Segway and raise you a Sinclair C5.

  14. Eduard Coli

    BS

    One can't help but think that this is being done because large investors, banks, etc. all know that a bailout will be forthcoming if hotair tech corps like ML fail.

    For its part if ML is smart, or at least buys some brains, they will buy out a startup that actually knows what they are doing.

  15. Jos V

    Confirmation?

    A short search turned up this one:

    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1198606/saudi-public-investment-fund-invests-magic-leap

    Still though...

  16. wayward4now

    Whatever works for the porn industry will rule the world.

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