Facebook's Oculus to fight Apple's AR and VR push with new $200 standalone headset in 2018...

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Facebook's Oculus is apparently in the early stages of developing a standalone mobile headset, with use cases like watching a movie on a plane, without needing a connected computer or smartphone.




Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes that Oculus is seeking to expand to stand-alone devices, setting it apart from existing offerings necessitating a smartphone like Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR. According to Thursday's report, the device will be driven by a Snapdragon processor of some sort, and will hit $200 price point at some point in 2018.

The device allegedly is code-named "Pacific" and on the exterior resembles a compact version of the Oculus Rift. It will feature Oculus branding in most of the world, and Xiaomi in China -- probably because of Oculus executive Hugo Barra's involvement with the company prior to coming to Facebook.

The first iteration of the technology is not expected to include positional tracking -- but it is allegedly on the road map for the future, according to sources familiar with the matter contacted by Bloomberg.

The rumored headset may not be a surprise, however. In October, Facebook CEO claimed that it had plans for a similar device, to attempt to take the technology main-stream.

"We all know where we want to improve and where we want virtual reality to eventually get --It's this feeling of real presence," said Zuckerberg. "We want hardware that's a lighter form factor and smaller, that can do both VR and AR, that can do eye tracing and mouth tracking and hand tracking."

The device may fight fairly significant headwinds, however. HTC and Lenovo are expected to rollout standalone headsets with Google's Daydream OS for release in 2017, as is Samsung based on Oculus technology.

Apple's ARKit will ship with iOS 11 in the fall. and instantaneously make iOS the largest AR platform, based on deployed devices.

Asked about the prospect of Apple-branded virtual and augmented reality products in the fall of 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that while VR, such as that delivered by Oculus, promises "cool" applications for gaming and education, AR technology is of particular interest.

"There's virtual reality and there's augmented reality -- both of these are incredibly interesting," Cook said to Roberts. "But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    They can sense the storm that's coming. Apple is going to turn the AR world upside down (as small as it currently is) and then greatly expand it. Everyone will be scrambling to catch up.

    I wonder how the employees at Sensomotoric, Flyby Media, Metaio and others that were working on AR feel now? They've gone from a small niche market to find themselves part of the worlds largest AR platform. I imagine it must be pretty exciting to see.
    caliwatto_cobracolinng
  • Reply 2 of 20
    A real question: what can VR provide that the majority of consumers would want?  Keeping in mind they would have to purchase and wear some sort of head gear.
    mark fearingrobjnleavingthebiggcolinng
  • Reply 3 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    So, how is that fighting against Apple, seems like something totally different.
    Though, obviously they both will end up stretching the AR and VR world wide open.
    SolirobjnStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 20
    I'm not sure there is a VR market even in 5 years for standalone multi-hundreds of dollars devices. It seems a niche even if I give it the benefit of my doubts about what it will do for people and how much people want to sit around with goggles on and stare into space. I say that sort of kidding, but there does seem to be a 'people look really dumb' wearing them thing going on and that is not easy to overcome. UNLESS it offers something so truly amazing it all changes. But I haven't see what that AMAZING thing is.The Photo of Zuckerberg with this article doesn't help VR's case.
    robjnmobirdradarthekatSpamSandwichwatto_cobracolinng
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Why is Apple their target? Apple doesn't yet have even one AR/VR product. Wouldn't they be going up against Microsoft, Samsung and Alphabet? Everyone has already said that Apple is too late to the AR/VR party so why do they even mention fighting Apple? Apple should definitely concentrate on AR at first on mobile devices. VR is just too power-hungry when it comes to battery life. Still, even with Apple being able to launch AR on the largest ready-made platform, Wall Street doesn't seem to be impressed with Apple having any AR advantage whatsoever. I think Apple could definitely sell more iPhone and iPad upgrades if the AR apps are novel enough. However, AR could become something like 3D TV and only be novel for a short while before everyone loses interest in it.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    A real question: what can VR provide that the majority of consumers would want?  Keeping in mind they would have to purchase and wear some sort of head gear.
    VR sure doesn't seem like a family thing. Each family individual would have to buy gear to use it and that's going to be quite costly. Each person would have to take turns using the same gear and that would require a one-size-fits-all product. I may be short-sighted but I can't see VR catching on anytime soon as it requires more processing power than most home devices are equipped with. It seems Apple has the largest ready-made platform although I'm sure Samsung's most recent flagship smartphones can likely handle AR tasks.
    colinng
  • Reply 7 of 20
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 946member
    WaIt a minute... just a few months ago, VR gear manufacturers were saying that Macs were not powerful enough to run VR applications. So my 8 core Xeon Mac Pro won't run it, but suddenly a little snapdragon processor can? 
    robjncaliplanetary paulSpamSandwichStrangeDaysradarthekatwatto_cobracolinng
  • Reply 8 of 20
    robjnrobjn Posts: 263member
    VR can't compete against AR.

    VR has few practical applications beyond gaming. VR is not a good human interface because it cuts the user off from the world around them and the people in it - the computing experiences that people love most are the ones that enhance normal human activities.

    AR is altogether different. Apple have delivered a product to developpers (ARKit) that they are amazed with. The possibilities of AR are endless. AR does not require any specific hardware, it works with what many people already have - iPhone 6s or above.

    In time there will be easy ways for users to create content for AR - and it will be much easier to do so than creating VR environments. Once users are themselves creating content it will explode with popularity. If an upcoming iPhone has a high quality 3D scanning sensor - this might be all that it needed to drive AR to 'next big thing' status.
    radarthekatwatto_cobracolinng
  • Reply 9 of 20
    robjnrobjn Posts: 263member

     I'm sure Samsung's most recent flagship smartphones can likely handle AR tasks.
    No doubt they can. AR has been possible for years but difficult for developpers to implement. Apple have now made it extremely easy for developpers to create apps that use AR.

    One AR/VR developper recently said that he has focused all his work up till now on cross platform applications. However, he is so blown away with ARKit he recommends that everyone that doesn't have one should get an iPhone.

    When it comes to AR, most developpers  will choose to work on Apple's platform. There's nothing Samsung can do about this - they have to wait for Android to catch up.

    AR will motivate many Android users to switch and many with iPhone 6 or older to upgrade. There will also be increased App Store revenue. This all kicks off in a big way in about 9 weeks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,768member
    VR for watching movies on an airliner.  VR while sitting on an airline seat next to other passengers?  Your VR gestures will annoy a lot of people and possibly whack the person sitting next to you.  Sounds more like 3D movies not VR is the appropriate use for Oculus's in-flight head set.  And we know how 3D movies caught a spark but never caught fire.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,866member
    Outside of hardcore gamers, is there a VR market?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Where are the people who said you NEED an iPhone/knockoff to run a VR headset?

    You don't. 

    If Apple ever decides to release AR glasses bet your ass it won't require you to strap an iPhone to your face. 
    edited July 2017 leavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    ziggieziggie Posts: 4member
    This feels like Apple vs Orange. Two different use case for slightly similar technology. AR - If I want to take non physical (digital) objects and show it in the real world. VR - Immerse myself into a digital-virtual world. Both has its advantage and disadvantage, but none is better than the other.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    VR is DOA.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,565member
    robjn said:
    VR can't compete against AR. 
    They don't need to compete -- they're two different things. Does ping pong need to compete with bad mitten? No, because they're different things. 
    edited July 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,394moderator
    When I see a false motivation drive product design I lose confidence in the result.  Zuck's motivation to provide something that doesn't need a smartphone to drive it seems wholly motivated by factors other than good engineering.  Shades of his FB Home effort; that misguided attempt to take over the smartphone user experience from a few years back. Even Microsoft got the message in mobile and decided to ride the wave, with a suite of mobile variants of their apps for the iPhone rather than trying to prevent the wave from reaching shore.

     You can bet if/when Apple gets into VR, the hardware that delivers content to it will primarily be your smartphone; not just because Apple makes smartphones, but because users will already have a very powerful computer in their pocket (a couple turns of Moore's law into the future from where we are today).  It makes little sense to duplicate that capability in a headset or pair of glasses (or, hmm, contact lenses).  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Facebook, huh?

    2003:
    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
    Zuck: People just submitted it.
    Zuck: I don't know why.
    Zuck: They "trust me"
    Zuck: Dumb fucks

      edited July 2017
    • Reply 18 of 20
      MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
      Why is Apple their target? Apple doesn't yet have even one AR/VR product. Wouldn't they be going up against Microsoft, Samsung and Alphabet? Everyone has already said that Apple is too late to the AR/VR party so why do they even mention fighting Apple? Apple should definitely concentrate on AR at first on mobile devices. VR is just too power-hungry when it comes to battery life. Still, even with Apple being able to launch AR on the largest ready-made platform, Wall Street doesn't seem to be impressed with Apple having any AR advantage whatsoever. I think Apple could definitely sell more iPhone and iPad upgrades if the AR apps are novel enough. However, AR could become something like 3D TV and only be novel for a short while before everyone loses interest in it.
      A real question: what can VR provide that the majority of consumers would want?  Keeping in mind they would have to purchase and wear some sort of head gear.
      VR sure doesn't seem like a family thing. Each family individual would have to buy gear to use it and that's going to be quite costly. Each person would have to take turns using the same gear and that would require a one-size-fits-all product. I may be short-sighted but I can't see VR catching on anytime soon as it requires more processing power than most home devices are equipped with. It seems Apple has the largest ready-made platform although I'm sure Samsung's most recent flagship smartphones can likely handle AR tasks.
      jungmark said:
      Outside of hardcore gamers, is there a VR market?
      To the first point, they know that when Apple enters a market late it usually decimates all that went before.  Watch may well be painted as a failure by the anti-Apple brigade but it is one of the, if not the most profitable watch smart or conventional now.

      To the second pont, family members could conceivably share an experience, as in see each other in the VR scenes in the future of VR technology and it doesn't have to be a game.

      To the third point and sort of a follow on from above, VR has potential for lots of things other than games.  I agree AR had far more immediate and useful potential as Apple is showing but VR could be used in education, such as exploring places or buildings, Grand Canyon ... the Parthenon ...without leaving the classroom.  It also has great potential for the handicapped to allow them the enjoyment of freedoms, albeit illusory, we all take for granted.  Think Avatar.
      edited July 2017
    • Reply 19 of 20
      MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
      AR will only be popular when Apple gets into the market. Until them, just a toy for rich kids.
      Exactly, then they'll all be copying Apple.  AR is going to be huge on iPhones and iPads when all the apps utilizing it hit the market.  Not for games but for its boundless real world potential.
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