Meta: Four New VR Headsets in the Pipeline

In Meta’s ongoing mission for metaverse dominance, the company is reported to be working on four new headsets which will be released between now and 2024. 

According to a report in The Information, Meta’s plans are to release two models of a high-end headset called ‘Project Cambria’, and a further two Quest headsets. All of this will also coincide with the release of the much anticipated AR glasses, codenamed ‘Project Nazare’.

But what can we expect from the new Meta tech, and when will it be with us?

Here’s everything we know so far about Meta’s VR road map.

What Is Project Cambria?

Project Cambria was first mentioned at Meta Connect in October 2021. Dubbed, ‘Quest Pro’ by many VR enthusiasts, the new headset promises to blend virtual reality with augmented reality. Meta hopes to market the device as a high-end product, separating it from the Quest range.

Early indications are that the price tag for Project Cambria will be at least $800, which is around twice the price of the Quest 2.  At a recent Meta earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that this device was less about playing games, and more about productivity. He’s also described the technology as being a ‘laptop for the face’.

The aim of Project Cambria is that it will eventually replace the laptop in the work setup. With a high-resolution display, the plan is that the device can be used for emails, coding, and more. Sensors in the headset will closely monitor users’ facial expressions, and these can then be mimicked effectively in Workrooms and Horizons.

One potential drawback is that the headset will run on Android. This means that many Windows-based workplace applications will be off the table for users unless they can access tools using a web browser.

There are two versions of this headset on the horizon, the release of which will be staggered over the next two years.

What Next for Quest?

Recently, the Oculus brand name was phased out from much of Meta’s online content and future plans. The Quest remains very much front and centre of their agenda though as the company is apparently planning two new headsets over the next couple of years.

The two versions of the Quest that are currently being worked on are currently going by the names Stinson and Cardiff. 

What Is Project Nazare?

Defined as the device that will change our relationship with technology, many people believe Project Nazare to be Meta’s equivalent of the iPhone. The potentially game-changing AR glasses will work independently of smartphones.

A second set of AR glasses codenamed ‘Hypernova’ is also slated for release around the same time. Hypernova differs from Nazare in that it will pair with a smartphone and is likely to cost less than the Nazare.

Both the Hypernova and Nazare will be bundled with a wrist device that uses electromyography, or EMG, to harness the electrical pulses from the neurons that travel through the nerves in the arms. If this works, it’ll essentially create a “phantom limb” that will allow the user to control the virtual interface, replacing the need for keyboards or touch screens. 

Currently, the glasses are said to weigh around 100 grams, which is around four times the weight of a standard pair of spectacles. Additionally, early models may only work indoors and have quite a limited battery life. That said, Meta’s development plans seem to be far-reaching, and AR glasses may become mainstream as the technology becomes more streamlined.

When Can We Expect to See Meta’s New Headsets?

The first release of Project Cambria is pencilled in for September 2022, with a second headset codenamed ‘Funston’ on the agenda for 2024. Quest Stinson and Cardiff are set to be released in 2023 and 2024. 

Meta aims to release both Project Nazare and Hypernova in 2024, with lighter, improved versions to follow in 2026 and 2028.

Are you excited about these developments? Let us know in the comments which of the new devices you think will have the biggest impact on the world of VR. 

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