Meta’s new Quest Pro headset, mixed reality and virtual world, debuts

Oct 11 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms (META.O) on Tuesday unveiled its Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset, marking a milestone in Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s push into the premium segment of extended reality computing devices .

Launched at Meta’s annual Connect conference, the headset will hit store shelves in October. Priced at $1,500, the 25 will give consumers a way to interact with virtual creations overlaid on a full-color view of the physical world around them.

The launch is an important step for Zuckerberg, who announced plans for the device last year — known at the time as Project Cambria — while he changed the company’s name from Facebook to Meta to signal his intentions Repositioning the social media giant as a company that runs a shared immersive computing experience called Metaverse.

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Zuckerberg has since poured billions into the vision. Reality Labs, the Meta division responsible for bringing the metaverse to life, lost $10.2 billion in 2021 and has lost nearly $6 billion so far this year.

In his speech at the event, Zuckerberg, who was part video and part avatar, said he hopes the fusion of the physical and digital worlds will lead to new uses for computing.

“You’re going to see whole new categories of things being built,” he said.

The Quest Pro features several upgrades to Meta’s existing Quest 2 headset, which dominates the consumer virtual reality market.

Most notably, it has outward-facing cameras that capture some sort of 3D real-time stream of the wearer’s physical environment, enabling mixed reality novelties such as being able to hang virtual paintings on real-world walls or let the Virtual balls from real tables.

In contrast, the Quest 2 offers a more basic grayscale version of the technology, called pass-through.

The Quest Pro feels lighter and smarter than its predecessor, with thin pancake lenses and a relocated battery located on the back of the headset, which distributes weight more evenly while reducing overall bulk.

For fully immersive virtual reality, Meta added tracking sensors to the Quest Pro that replicate the user’s eye movements and facial expressions, creating the feeling that the avatar is making eye contact.

pitching efficiency

Meta positions the Quest Pro as a productivity device for designers, architects and other creative professionals.

In addition to offering its own Horizon social and workspace platform, the company offers virtual versions of Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) work products such as Word, Outlook and Teams, said Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella. (Satya Nadella) announced the partnership with Zuckerberg.

Venture capitalist Matthew Ball, whose writings on virtual worlds have been praised by Zuckerberg, said he thinks the partnerships are important because they hint at the company’s commitment to interoperability, or The idea that different systems should be connected to each other.

“There are a lot of people in the market who doubt that an interoperable and open metaverse is even possible, let alone possible,” he said, noting that Microsoft and Meta compete on multiple products in the extended reality space.

In a preview a few days before the Quest Pro’s launch, Meta gave reporters a glimpse into the types of users its productivity pitches had in mind by showing off apps like Tribe XR, a virtual training environment for DJs.

Tribe XR is already available in virtual reality, but the demo showed how pass-through technology can enable DJs to use the app to play real-world shows, as it means they can see real party participants through virtual equipment.

Meta plans to begin selling the Quest Pro in consumer channels, while adding enterprise-grade features such as mobile device management, authentication and advanced support services over the next year, executives said in a news release.

They say the device is designed to complement rather than replace the $399.99 entry-level Quest 2.

Currently, this means that Quest Pro cannot support complex business applications suggested by Meta, which it expects from its Metaverse technology.

The company is still working on a mixed reality experience for its Horizon Workrooms app, which allows a person’s avatar to appear alongside other users in a real-world conference room called Magic Rooms.

Zuckerberg said it also plans to add legs to its avatar, which is currently displayed from the waist up.

Still, the Quest Pro’s price point is well below the cost of existing enterprise-focused devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens 2, which was released for commercial use in 2019 and is already showing up in operating rooms and factory floors.

The entry-level Hololens 2 is $3,500.

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Katie Paul reports from Palo Alto, Calif.Edited by Kenneth Li, Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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