According to a detailed report by The Information, Meta plans to launch no fewer than four new VR headsets between now and the end of 2024, as Facebook’s parent company aggressively pursues founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse.
The internal roadmap seen by The Information says that the first of these headphones will launch around September of this year. Codenamed Project Cambria, it’s a high-end standalone VR and mixed reality headset that will be sold as a tool for remote work, rather than gaming. On an earnings call last week, Zuckerberg said Cambria’s focus was “eventually replacing your laptop or work setup.”
Key to this is very high-resolution image quality that will make it easier to read (and write) text inside the headset. Cambria also uses outward-facing cameras to pass through a view of the user’s real-life environment, enabling mixed reality experiences, as opposed to full virtual reality. These features, along with its relatively low onboard processing power, clearly set the Cambria apart from other high-end headsets like the Vive Pro, which are designed primarily for gaming and require a powerful PC to run. Experts at Meta’s Reality Labs call the device “a laptop for the face.” The Cambria will reportedly be priced at $799 or more.
Coming up after Cambria, in 2023, will be a new version of Meta’s lower-end Quest headphones, which currently start at $299. Then in 2024 both Cambria and Quest will be updated with more new versions. At least, that’s Meta’s plan. According to The Information’s report, the social media company is struggling to adjust to life as a manufacturer of hardware and operating systems, which, coupled with supply constraints, has led to frequent delays in its planned move into virtual reality. as well as in augmented reality glasses. runs in parallel.
Many other challenges face Zuckerberg’s quest to get everyone to join work meetings through VR goggles on Meta’s Horizon Workrooms app. One is the compatibility of Meta’s custom VR operating system with common workplace software. Another is the hitherto untested public appetite for virtual reality, or for Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse as a pervasive, immersive virtual reality Internet where people will work, socialize and shop using avatars. But the CEO of Meta has a long-term vision. During the recent earnings call, he said Meta was “laying the groundwork for what I expect to be a very exciting 2030.”