Facebook’s future chief technology officer and current head of virtual reality Andrew Bosworth teased a slim VR headset concept prototype less than a day before HTC is set to reveal a new VR product.
The leaks have been steady from HTC ahead of an announcement for the super slim Vive Flow VR headset reportedly priced at $499. Facebook, meanwhile, set expectations of focusing its VR efforts around the $299 Oculus Quest 2 this holiday season.
Bosworth (aka “Boz”) tweeted the image below on Wednesday with text referring to Facebook Reality Labs researchers working in Redmond, Washington led by former Valve researcher Michael Abrash. Bosworth wrote:
“Proud of the research Michael Abrash’s team is working on at FRL-R Redmond—excited to get an early look at some of the technologies that will underpin the metaverse (we work on several prototype headsets to prove out concepts, this is one of them. Kind of. It’s a long story.)
HTC’s China President Alvin Wang Graylin replied “Hey Boz, Nice looking research project. Want to trade for a production quality device hot out of our factory?”
While we’ve seen a number of very slim VR prototypes over the years, only Huawei has yet shipped to consumers – and only in China. The slimmer approach to VR optics sees major advancements in terms of being lighter weight and more comfortable, but some designs may have other drawbacks. Some smartglasses designs, for example, tether by wire to an external computing phone or processing puck to further the weight reduction. The approach can bring over some of your content or apps from another device like your phone, but it also introduces a bothersome wire to the experience. In addition, input on this class of device is not yet standardized so while it might be a good fit for consuming flat-screen content wherever you are on a big virtual screen, you’re unlikely to enjoy any of the highest-selling VR games on such a device.
We can’t wait to see what HTC reveals and hope to get more details about this Facebook prototype headset.