Oculus Go makes untethered virtual reality a reality, for less

Oculus Go VR headset

Facebook-owned Oculus has just dropped a bombshell of a VR kind. The all-new Oculus Go is the first ever standalone virtual reality headset that trumps the Oculus Rift, making untethered VR a reality.

The Oculus Go edges in at USD199 (MYR840), significantly cutting its big brother Oculus Rift (USD599 at launch, now cut to USD399/MYR1,684). Yes, it’s more affordable, but that’s just one of a few things the Oculus Go trumps its high-end sibling.

Wait, you may have read rumours about the Go headset ahead of Oculus Connect. But this isn’t the commercial version of the self-contained headset prototype announced last year.

It’s more stripped down to keep costs low, so it doesn’t have fancy inside-out tracking or full-tracked motion controllers as you’ve seen on the Project Santa Cruz proto.

Project Santa Cruz
Project Santa Cruz

Speaking of Santa Cruz, Oculus showed the next phase of development, now featuring two positionally tracked controllers. It features the same constellation tracking technology on the Rift and Touch.

Goodbye, wires

Oculus head Hugo Barra, yes ex-Xiaomi and Googler, calls the Oculus Go “hands down the easiest way to get into VR.” Which goes to show how serious Mark Zuckerberg is in reaching his goal for the Oculus platform: one billion people in VR.

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Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality hardware, and as a springboard, it acquired Oculus in 2014 for USD3 billion.

The ground-breaking Oculus Go, although only shipping next year, will have a major edge over rivals HTC Vive and Alphabet’s Google Daydream headsets.

Oculus Go VR headset

It doesn’t require a smartphone or PC for operation, and it also rocks new lenses that reduce glare and offer a wider field of view. It gets a high-definition 2560×1440 “Fast-switch” LCD display. The new screen is even better than Oculus Rift’s 2160×1200 display.

The untethered headset also has spatial audio built in, and can be used without headphones. There’s still a 3.5mm headphone jack though, just in case.

Oculus Go VR headset

The headset is made of breathable cloth (much like the Google Daydream headset), and it can be used with glasses.

Oculus hasn’t revealed much specs, but Tomshardware is suggesting there’s a Snapdragon 821 SoC powering the headset.

Content, content, content

Hardware means nothing without software and content. Because Gear VR and Oculus Go are binary compatible, and they share the same controller input set, developers who building for Gear VR are already building for Oculus Go.

This also means that Oculus’ mobile VR content library is available from day one.

Facebook themselves are busy developing Facebook Spaces, which allows friends to meet in virtual “spaces” and it will integrate live video.

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The company is also releasing new technology to create better customised facial images and avatars.

Oculus Go pushes the envelope of what’s possible at an affordable price point, and it will be interesting what consumers think about this, and how competitors will react to the new development.

What do you think?

Source: Oculus Blog via Anandtech

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