On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Facebook’s Oculus division is working on a new version of the Quest VR headset. The standalone device is one of its most popular and allows casual users to start experiencing VR without extra equipment.
The new model is supposedly going to be lighter and more powerful than the current version. Sadly, delays in manufacturing and development due to the coronavirus pandemic could temporarily hinder its release.
It’s almost been one year exactly since the Oculus Quest headset launched. As such, it’s still a little bit early for an upgrade. Yet, seeing as virtual reality (VR) is cutting edge technology, the hardware circuit moves faster than it does for things like laptops.
The current version of the Quest retails for $399 and is arguably the best standalone VR device on the market. It allows users to play games, watch movies, and try new apps in VR without the need for a powerful computer or connecting wires. While it is a great device, it is far from perfect.
Many users complain that the current headset is too heavy and that its performance is lackluster compared to the more powerful Oculus Rift. Facebook is reportedly working to address those issues with a second-gen headset.
According to Bloomberg, there are multiple successors being developed. As such, nothing about its form factor is certain.
It appears that Facebook is mainly focusing on reducing the weight and overall size of the headset. This would make it more comfortable for long VR sessions and allow users to feel more immersed in their digital worlds. Current prototypes being developed are about 10 to 15 percent smaller and weigh about a pound. That’s a noteworthy decrease from the current Quest’s 1.25-pound weight.
Along with making the headset smaller, Facebook seems to be focusing on comfort. Rumors suggest that the new Quest may feature a more elastic material for the straps.
No New Hardware
Interestingly, the Bloomberg report doesn’t mention anything about new hardware. That would make upgrading the headset’s refresh rate difficult. Facebook could opt to switch the device’s panel for one in the 90 or 120Hz range to make content seem smoother. However, it is unclear whether that will be a priority for this upgrade.
It may opt to focus only on comfort—addressing one issue at a time. That isn’t advisable since it won’t make the Quest a popular item for VR power users. It will be very interesting to see which features make it into the next-gen headset.
When that unveiling will occur is unknown. Facebook originally planned to launch the headset at its Oculus Connect conference in late 2020. However, the pandemic-related delays are likely going to push that date back into 2021.
Meanwhile, the firm is also reportedly working on an augmented reality (AR) headset that is planned to release in 2023. That device will also likely be delayed since engineers don’t have access to hardware development labs at the moment.