The Verge’s Alex Heath reports Meta canceled hardware codenamed Cardiff.
In his Command Line weekly newsletter, Heath writes he “heard of at least two early-stage hardware prototypes, one codenamed Cardiff and the other Hermosa, that have been canned recently.”
In May last year, The Information said it viewed an internal Meta roadmap showing the next two mainline headsets after Quest 2 and the first two high-end headsets (the first being the Quest Pro released in October). The two mainline headsets were said to be codenamed Stinson and Cardiff and set to release in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
Stinson is almost certainly Quest 3, as Meta has effectively confirmed it’s launching this year. So what exactly would Cardiff have been? There are a few possibilities to consider.
Qualcomm seems set to update its XR2 chipset after three years, but the VR market would probably need to get much bigger to accelerate this cycle. Quest 3 is set to release three years after Quest 2 alongside the next generation XR2, but it’s possible Cardiff could have been a move to a yearly release cycle with relatively minor improvements.
This seems unlikely though, and such a move would discourage some people from buying because they’d worry their headset would be quickly outdated.
Cardiff could have been a lower cost option aimed at bringing VR to many more people than even Quest 2 and 3. But what exactly would Meta cut or reduce? A weaker processor would limit the applications it could run, while a lower resolution display wouldn’t save much on cost. Savings could be achieved by removing mixed reality sensors, but this wouldn’t match Meta’s long-term strategy and limit the userbase for mixed reality content.
Quest 3 Plus?
The price and feature gulf between the $400 Quest 2 and the $1500 Quest Pro is vast. Quest 3 is set to get color passthrough for mixed reality but leaked schematics suggest it won’t have eye or face tracking.
The most likely possibility is that Cardiff would have sat between Quest 3 and Quest Pro 2, offering features like eye tracking while priced lower than the next-generation high-end device.
As for Hermosa, there hasn’t been any reporting suggesting what it could have been, and we haven’t heard anything either.
If you know anything about Cardiff or Hermosa, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter.