Facebook partners with Xiaomi and Qualcomm for its Oculus Go VR headset

Update: Facebook’s VR Vice President Hugo Barra has just announced at CES 2018 that the company’s forthcoming standalone VR headset, Oculus Go, will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. 

Barra made the announcement at a Qualcomm press conference, where he also revealed the news that Oculus will be working with manufacturer Xiaomi to produce the Go. The Chinese company will also be releasing its own spin-off of the Go, the Mi VR Standalone, exclusively for the Chinese market. 

For those of you familiar with Qualcomm’s mobile chipsets, the Snapdragon 821 is the same SoC (system-on-chip) that featured in the original Google Pixel, OnePlus 3T and LG G6 handsets. It’s a rather curious choice of chip when you consider that it’s neither the fastest nor the most power efficient mobile processor Qualcomm has made. I’d guess the selection must have something to do with cost, especially when the Go is set to go on sale for only $199.

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“We’ve worked closely with Qualcomm to deliver the highest possible level of performance to meet the high computing demands of the standalone VR product category,” Oculus explained in a blog post on its site. 

The Oculus Go’s low price point certainly makes it a very exciting product, so we hope there might be me more announcements regarding its UK price and release date to come at CES.

Original article continues below:

Oculus Go is the latest VR headset from the Facebook-owned Oculus VR. Designed to be completely standalone and totally wireless, Oculus Go sits in the gap between the Samsung Galaxy S8-powered Gear VR and the full-fat Oculus Rift.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced Oculus Go at the company’s annual Oculus Connect 4 conference, describing it as “the most accessible VR headset yet.” Starting at $199, with no UK price point currently announced, Oculus Go seems to sit as a pricier alternative to the Gear VR. However, as it doesn’t require you to own a Samsung Galaxy phone, it’s actually a lot cheaper because it’s entirely self-contained – you don’t even need a PC to use it.

So what is Oculus Go? It’s a lightweight, self-contained, headset that’s designed to get people interacting with Facebook’s VR content easier than ever before, and allow developers to explore the possibility of VR experiences. You can expect it to support the same array of games as you find on Gear VR as it uses a small controller that’s similar to Samsung’s and Google’s and – despite inside-out or room-scale tracking it’s still useful for social experiences.

Oculus Go also allows developers to create and test in VR too. Developers can build using Oculus Rift, but show others with Oculus Go rather effortlessly.

To make Oculus Rift owners jealous, Oculus Go comes equipped with a fast-switch 2,560 x 1,440 pixel LCD, “next-gen” lenses with the same field-of-vision as Rift but with glare reduction, and integrated spatial audio into the headband.

It should be noted that this isn’t the wireless Oculus Rift “Santa Cruz” prototype announced at last year’s Oculus Connect. That unit is still in development and is likely to become the next big release for Oculus in 2019 – as Oculus Go should arrive next year.

On that note, Oculus hasn’t stated when Oculus Go will release, simply providing a sign-up page for those interested.

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