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Facebook reportedly plans to release $200 Oculus VR headset in 2018
Photo via Tinxi/Shutterstock.com (Licensed)
This could hit the VR sweet spot.
Virtual Reality could get the push it needs for mass adoption later this year. Facebook is reportedly working on a wireless version of the Oculus Rift headset that would cost only $200 and start shipping in 2018.
Oculus hopes that its headset will popularize VR the same way Apple‘s iPhone popularized the smartphone, Bloomberg reports. The device, code-named “Pacific,” won’t be quite as powerful as the Rift. For example, it won’t include position tracking like the Rift does. It’s said to look like a smaller version of the company’s existing Rift, and it will be lighter than a Samsung Gear VR headset. It would be controlled via wireless remote.
Right now, there are basically two kinds of VR headsets. There are expensive, high-quality rigs you tether to a suitable PC system. (Oculus Rift VR bundles start around $1,000 at a minimum). Or, alternatively, you can use a much cheaper headset that uses your smartphone as its screen—and its brains. Among the latter include the Samsung Gear VR ($99.99), Google Cardboard ($16.99), and a handful of other headsets at price points in between.
Facebook’s next Oculus would hit a sweet spot in between those two options. It would offer VR quality that’s higher than what you’d get by placing a smartphone screen two inches from your eyeballs, but at a price tag that won’t require you to pull a second mortgage. If you’ve gotten a taste of VR on a Google Cardboard or a similar product and want something more—but not $600 more—this would be your go-to. And, being wireless, you’d be able to use it on the go, during your morning commute or on a cross-country flight—much the same way you would a tablet.
According to Bloomberg, this new wireless Oculus headset would include a Snapdragon processor inside be produced by Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.