Face­book to launch por­ta­ble VR head­set

Business Standard - - TECHNOLOGY -

Face­book is launch­ing a new vir­tual re­al­ity head­set that does not re­quire a sep­a­rate com­puter to op­er­ate, al­low­ing more mo­bile uses than the com­pany’s ex­ist­ing Ocu­lus Rift prod­uct, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mark Zucker­berg said on Wed­nes­day.

Zucker­berg, speak­ing at a con­fer­ence for vir­tual re­al­ity de­vel­op­ers, said the “Ocu­lus Go” de­vice would cost $199 and ship early next year, too late for this year’s hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son but likely ahead of ri­vals.

Face­book has in­vested heav­ily in vir­tual re­al­ity hard­ware in hopes the tech­nol­ogy, which of­fers a 360de­gree panoramic view of far­away or imag­i­nary spa­ces, will move from a niche in­ter­est to a widely used plat­form for gam­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions.

In 2014, Face­book paid $3 bil­lion to ac­quire Ocu­lus and re­tain its em­ploy­ees.

The Ocu­lus Go is billed as sim­pler than the Rift, which went on sale last year, or the Vive sys­tem made by HTC Corp. Both of those re­quire desk­top com­put­ers to op­er­ate. “I think you’re go­ing to see th­ese a lot on air­planes, be­cause it’s way bet­ter than the back-of-the-seat mon­i­tor or my phone,” Mike Schroepfer, Face­book’s chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer, said in an in­ter­view.

Schroepfer said the de­vice is aimed at peo­ple who do not have Sam­sung smart­phones. Ocu­lus and Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics al­ready sell a de­vice, named Gear VR, that when paired with cer­tain Sam­sung phones is sim­i­lar to Ocu­lus Go. REUTERS

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