Meta’s schedule seems to be busy. Mark Zuckerberg’s company, which recently changed its name to Meta to reflect its metaverse-oriented strategy, plans to release four new virtual reality headsets by 2024, according to The Information. A resolutely aggressive schedule that is consistent with Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to spread his vision of virtual reality.
A line of high-end helmets
The first headset is known as the “Cambria Project”, about which Facebook had unveiled some details in October 2021. It should be a mixed reality headset capable of doing both virtual reality (immersion in a synthetic environment) and augmented reality (we see the world around us, augmented with virtual objects). This high-end helmet should incorporate some advanced technologies intended to eventually integrate, when their price has dropped, the more affordable helmets of the Quest range. This headset, which is known internally as Arcata, is expected to be released in September, according to The Information. Then, a second version, currently named Funston, should be released in 2024.
The price of Cambria should be around $ 799, well above the $ 300 to $400 that Quest cost today. The image quality should be sufficient for reading text and typing emails or lines of code in a virtual reality environment.
At the operating system level, a home version of Android should be embedded in the device. The processing power of the headset should match that of a low-end laptop. In particular, the price should be justified by a more powerful battery and sensors that can track eyes and facial expressions in order to reproduce them on the user’s avatar.
The other two helmets are versions of Quest internally christened Stinson and Cardiff. These helmets are expected to be released in 2023 and 2024.
In parallel, Meta is also working on augmented reality glasses. Known as the Nazaré, a first model is due to be launched in 2024. Then a second version, lighter and more efficient in 2026, and a third version in 2028. Other, cheaper glasses, called Hypernova, are also expected to be launched in 2024. The latter will be connected to a smartphone and will have a small screen that can display notifications. It could be an evolution of the Ray-Ban Stories, which are marketed in France, and a second version of which is also planned.
The Nazaré and Hypernova glasses must be marketed with a connected bracelet to serve as an interface. The promise of this bracelet is that its wearer can interact with the glasses thanks to the movements of his fingers, without the need for a touch screen or keyboard.
So the roadmap is very busy for Meta, which spent $ 3 billion in the first quarter of 2022 on virtual and augmented reality. Investments that meet the hardware strategy set by Mark Zuckerberg, but whose ambitions could be curbed by pressure from some shareholders.