Three years after Facebook acquired Oculus, it is collaborating with Xiaomi to launch a wireless VR headset, Bloomberg reported. The headset is likely to be priced at $200 (Rs 13,000 approximately), and will start shipping in 2018. This is significantly cheaper than the standard Oculus VR headset ($400), and close to Samsung’s Gear VR ($130) headset. Xiaomi itself manufactures the Mi VR Play that is much cheaper than its peers.
Facebook’s move is clearly aimed at making VR a mass phenomenon. At Oculus’ developer conference last year, Mark Zuckerberg had spoken about a “sweet spot” that could exist between the Gear VR and the Oculus Rift. “This is the kind of thing that we believe will exist,” he’d said. This new device could possibly bridge and offer a good VR experience to users at an affordable price. ALSO READ: F8 2017: Facebook Spaces is a new social VR platform for Oculus users
The device is likely to be “more compact” and lighter than the standard Oculus Rift. It’ll also be equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, thus resulting in better graphics. “The device’s design and features aren’t finalized and could still change, but the idea is that someone will be able to pull the headset out of their bag and watch movies on a flight just the way you can now with a phone or tablet,” adds the Bloomberg report.
Facebook’s tie-up with Xiaomi is on the lines of its prior collaboration with Samsung for the Gear VR. But this new device will have a custom version for China, Xiaomi’s home market, and have Xiaomi software built into it. Interestingly, Facebook is banned in China and local Chinese VR headsets have their own app ecosystems. This will allow Facebook to reach out to an entirely new set of customers. ALSO READ: Mark Zuckerberg denies allegations of stealing technology for Oculus Rift
The social networking giant has been pushing VR for a while. Almost three years after Oculus came on board, Facebook announced its ambitious product, Facebook Spaces, at the F8 conference. The product brings 3D virtual spaces into the real world where multiple people can interact as if they were in the same room. The Facebook Spaces app’s beta version is currently available on the Oculus Rift.