Meta Platforms Inc. plans to introduce four new virtual reality headsets by 2024, The Information reported today.
The first headset, known internally as Project Cambria, is expected to make its debut in September. A source told The Information that Meta had originally planned to release the device last year but delayed the launch because of supply chain constraints and other pandemic-related issues. There’s a chance that the launch date could be pushed back again, the source added.
Project Cambria is described as a high-end device designed for productivity use cases. Internally, Meta employees have reportedly highlighted similarities between the headset and Google LLC’s Chromebook series of laptops. Similarly to Chromebooks, the Project Cambria headset will reportedly focus mainly on enabling users to access “web-based tools and services” through a browser.
Earlier, Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg declared that the device is aimed at “eventually replacing your laptop or work setup.” Meta executives have also detailed that Project Cambria features new optical technology designed to take up less space in the chassis. The streamlined optics could enable Meta engineers to make the headset more compact than the company’s earlier VR systems.
After its expected debut in September, Project Cambria is reportedly set to become available for purchase at a price “significantly higher” than $800. A second version of Cambria, which is said to be codenamed Funston, is set to follow in 2024. The advancements in processor performance and power efficiency that will likely made by chipmakers over the next two years could potentially enable Meta to equip Funston with more computing capacity than Project Cambria.
The two other headsets that Meta is reportedly planning to introduce over the next two years are described as lower-end devices that will join Meta’s existing Quest line of VR headsets. The devices, known as Stinson and Cardiff, are believed to be scheduled for release in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
The current flagship device in the Quest headset series is the Oculus Quest 2. It’s aimed at the consumer market rather than for work use cases like the upcoming Project Cambria and runs on an Android-based operating system.
Meta’s headset development efforts are part of a long-term strategy by the company to unlock new revenue growth opportunities in the metaverse. The company spent $2.96 billion on its metaverse-focused Reality Labs division last quarter, up from $1.83 billion a year ago. The division reportedly has about 17,000 workers, which means that it accounts for nearly one quarter of Meta’s total workforce.
The four new VR devices that Meta is expected to roll out could make their debut in the same time frame as Apple Inc.’s rumored augmented reality headset. The headset reportedly features a processor “on par” with the M1 Pro chip in the latest MacBook Pro laptops. The device is being developed by an Apple division known as the Technology Development Group that is believed to have more than 2,000 employees.
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