Meta’s new Quest Pro headset, which mixes real and virtual worlds, makes its debut

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 breakthrough into the high-end extended market -Reality computing devices marked.

The headset, unveiled at Meta’s annual Connect conference, will hit shelves on October 25 priced at $1,500 and offer consumers the ability to interact with virtual creations pointing to a full-color view of the physical world to be placed around them.

The launch is an important step for Zuckerberg, who last year announced plans for the device — then dubbed Project Cambria — while also changing his company’s name from Facebook to Meta to signal his intent to help the social media giant in to transform a company that operates a collaborative immersive computing experience known as the Metaverse.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Zuckerberg has since poured billions of dollars into that vision. Reality Labs, the meta-entity responsible for bringing the metaverse to life, lost $10.2 billion in 2021 and has lost nearly $6 billion so far this year.

Speaking at the event, Zuckerberg, recorded partly on video and partly as an avatar, said he expected the merging of the physical and digital worlds to lead to new uses for computers.

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

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

Most notable are the outward-facing cameras, which capture a sort of 3D livestream of the physical environment around a wearer, enabling mixed-reality firsts like the ability to hang a virtual painting on a real-world wall or bounce a virtual ball off one let realizable.

In contrast, the Quest 2 offers a more rudimentary greyscale version of this technology, called passthrough.

The Quest Pro feels lighter and slimmer than its predecessors, with thin pancake glasses and a repositioned battery that sits on the back of the headset, distributing its weight more evenly while reducing overall bulk.

For a fully immersive virtual reality, Meta has added tracking sensors to the Quest Pro that can replicate users’ eye movements and facial expressions, creating the sensation of avatars making eye contact.

INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

Meta introduces the Quest Pro as a productivity device aimed at designers, architects, and other creative professionals.

In addition to offering its own Horizon social and workspace platforms, the company has also made available virtual versions of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) work products like Word, Outlook and Teams, a partnership Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared with Zuckerberg announced.

Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist whose writings on the metaverse have praised Zuckerberg, said he thinks such partnerships are meaningful because they suggest companies’ commitment to interoperability, or the idea that different systems should be connected together.

“There’s a lot of skepticism in the market that an interoperable and open Metaverse is even possible, let alone likely,” he said, noting that Microsoft and Meta compete on several products in the extended reality space.

Previewing Quest Pro days before launch, Meta Reporters gave reporters a glimpse of the kind of users it had in mind for its productivity showcase, showcasing apps like Tribe XR, a virtual training environment for DJs.

Tribe XR is already available in virtual reality, but a demonstration showed how passthrough technology could allow DJs to use the app to play gigs in the real world, giving them access beyond their virtual gear to actual partygoers can see.

Meta plans to sell the Quest Pro in consumer channels first and add enterprise-level features like mobile device management, authentication and premium support services over the next year, executives said at the press event.

They said the device is designed to complement rather than replace the entry-level Quest 2, which retails for $399.99.

For now, that means the Quest Pro doesn’t support the complex commercial applications that Meta has suggested its Metaverse technology should support.

The company is still working on a mixed reality experience for its Horizon Workrooms app that would make a person’s avatar appear as if they were present with other users in a real-world conference room, which it calls Magic Rooms.

It also plans to add legs to its avatars, which currently display from the waist up, Zuckerberg said.

Still, the Quest Pro is priced well below the cost of existing enterprise-focused devices like Microsoft’s Hololens 2, which was released for commercial use in 2019 and is already present on operating theaters and factory floors.

An entry-level HoloLens 2 costs $3,500.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Report by Katie Paul in Palo Alto, California. Edited by Kenneth Li, Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

#Metas #Quest #Pro #headset #mixes #real #virtual #worlds #debut

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *