Facebook Attacks With A Price Cut

Virtual reality has long remained a niche market, but with better devices and, most recently, the corona crisis, business is taking off. Facebook wants to seize the moment – and has bigger plans too.

Facebook is pushing ahead in the VR glasses business with a significant price cut. The new model of the Oculus Quest glasses, which do not require an additional computer, will cost 299 dollars in the US – 100 dollars less than the previous version, as Facebook announced on Wednesday. In Germany, the device will initially not be available because Facebook claims that it is still in talks with a regulatory authority that has not yet been specified.

The Oculus Quest 2 will hit the US market on October 13th. It weighs less than the previous model and has a new chip. This was developed by the semiconductor group Qualcomm specifically for displaying virtual reality (VR), where users can immerse themselves in digital worlds. A new LCD display with 50 percent pixels should provide a better picture. The first Quest model had two separate screens using OLED technology.

As a new application, Facebook presented “Infinite Office” – a virtual workstation where you can see large computer screens in your glasses. A keyboard comes from the accessories provider Logitech – users should be able to see their typing fingers in the glasses. The function should initially be available on Quest 2 as a test.

In Germany, Facebook stopped selling Oculus glasses at the beginning of September. Discussions with regulators are pending, the online network announced without further information. The move followed the announcement that buyers of new devices – and from 2023 all users – must log in with their Facebook accounts. Previously there were separate Oculus profiles that did not necessarily have to be linked to the Facebook data.

Meanwhile, Facebook is also working on glasses with transparent lenses that can display additional information for users in the real environment. To this end, the online network will soon start tests with glasses with cameras and microphones, with the help of which usage scenarios and operation can be researched. They should be worn by some Facebook employees not only on the company premises, but also in public. Faces and license plates are automatically made illegible during recordings, as the online network emphasized.

Facebook’s plans also include creating a three-dimensional model of all possible environments for the use of glasses, which could be automatically updated with the help of the cameras. On the basis of these “Live Maps” useful assistance software can be developed that constantly accompanies the user through everyday life and reacts to the environment, said Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that one cannot even imagine today what will be possible in the long term.

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