Facebook will release a standalone VR headset for $200 next year, according to ‘People familiar with its development’. We rarely set store in rumours and hearsay, but this story has been broken by respected news source, Bloomberg.
If true, the standalone hardware will be the first to market, bridging the gap between smartphone-based mobile VR and high end tethered experiences that require external computing power – whether PC or console – to operate.
The article states that the new headset – codenamed Pacific - will be geared toward immersive gaming, watching video and social networking. The hardware is reported to resemble a compact Rift, but lighter than Gear VR and shares the latter’s wireless remote interface.
Bloomberg’s sources, who they describe as, ‘People who asked not to be named to discuss a private matter’ also suggest that Facebook will partner with China’s Xiaomi to manufacture the new Oculus branded headset, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile chip, for global distribution. Compute power is said to be in in line with Gear VR, but lacking positional tracking.
Connect The Dots
With developers said to be briefed by October, we expect more information on the system to be revealed at the forthcoming Oculus Connect – the same event where Facebook last year shared its progress on another standalone VR system, codenamed Santa Cruz.
Facebook, Oculus, Xiaomi and Qualcomm have yet to confirm the news.