AT&T has announced a new strategic partnership is being entered into with Magic Leap. The deal grants AT&T exclusive rights to be the wireless distributor of Magic Leap products in the U.S. Magic Leap has indicated they expect to bring their product – a “mixed reality” headset – to the retail market before the end of 2018.
AT&T did not share information on how much was paid or what other consideration may have been provided to obtain this exclusive distributor partnership. However, sources have noted that the announcement refers to AT&T being the wireless distributor, so other retail sources may be in the mix, but wireless carriers will probably not be competing with AT&T. There was no information provided as to how long the exclusive nature of the partnership may last.
According to AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan,
“AT&T is excited to pair our pioneering technologies, unmatched network, content platform, and vast customer ecosystem with Magic Leap’s efforts to build the next generation of computing.”
Magic Leap’s first product is called the “Magic Leap One” and consists of a headset, a small computing unit that one would wear on their hip, and some controllers. One of the goals appears to be to make the Magic Leap One comparable to AR headsets that have to be connected to a computer to drive the high end graphics. Magic Leap has indicated in the past that they are also working on technology that transmits light into a user’s eyes versus the user viewing a screen. This is supposed to help with realism according to past statements.
Magic Leap has raised around $2 billion dollars while working toward getting a product to market. Notable among their major investors are Google, Alibaba, and J.P. Morgan. Along with this new deal with AT&T, Magic Leap has partnerships in place with the NBA and with LucasFilm.