Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the company’s Connect 3 conference that a standalone virtual reality headset was under development, but did not mention any timeframe for release. According to Bloomberg, it seems we will not have to wait too long. Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, plans to unveil a standalone VR headset later this year that will not need to be tethered to a PC or phone. The headset will ship in 2018, and will have a price tag of $200, which is considerably less than the company’s Rift headset.
The device, code-named “Pacific” is reportedly more compact than the Rift, lighter than Samsung’s Gear VR, and can be controlled by a wireless remote. It will be powered by a Qualcomm chip, but it will not include positional tracking technology. Oculus said in a statement:
“We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm that we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category. This is in addition to our commitment to high-end VR products like Oculus Rift and mobile phone products like Gear VR”
According to people familiar with the matter, Xiaomi and its contract manufacturers will produce the new device. The headset will have Oculus branding everywhere except China, where it will feature Xiaomi branding and will come with some applications made by the Chinese company.
It seems competition is heating up in the space, as Samsung also revealed a prototype standalone headset at the recent Mobile World Congress Shanghai expo, which is built on the company's ExynosVR III platform.
Facebook is also working on another standalone headset, code-named "Santa Cruz", which will have all the power of the Rift but will not need to be tethered to a PC. Naturally, this device is expected to be more expensive than the “Pacific” headset.