On Tuesday, Meta Platforms unveiled its Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset, marking a milestone for Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg''s journey into the higher-end market for extended reality computing devices.
The new headset, which was unveiled at Meta''s annual Connect conference, will retail for $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1,23,400) and will offer consumers a medium to interact with virtual objects complemented by a full-colour visualisation of the physical world around them.
Zuckerberg made an early announcement about the technology last year, then called Project Cambria, but later changed its name from Facebook to Meta to manifest his desire to refocus the social media giant into a company with a shared immersive computing experience known as the metaverse.
Zuckerberg has invested billions into the project, including $10.2 billion (roughly Rs. 83,952 crore) in 2021, and a total of $6 billion so far this year.
The Quest Pro is complemented by Meta''s existing Quest 2 headset, which has dominated the consumer virtual reality market.
Outward-facing cameras capture a sort of 3D livestream of the physical environment around a wearer, enabling mixed reality novelties such as the ability to hang a virtual painting on a real-world wall or have a virtual ball bounce off a real table.
The Quest 2, however, provides a more rudimentary grayscale version of this technology, called passthrough.
The Quest Pro is thinner and thinner than its predecessors, featuring thin pancake lenses and a repositioned battery that sits at the back of the headset, distributing its weight more evenly while reducing its total weight.
Meta has added tracking sensors to the Quest Pro, which can alter users'' eye movements and facial expressions, resulting in the illusion that avatars are making eye contact.
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The Quest Pro is being promoted by Meta as a productive tool for designers, architects, and other creative professionals.
Out of offering its own Horizon social and workspace platforms, the company has also made virtual versions of Microsoft work products like Word, Outlook, and Teams available.
Meta gave reporters an insight about the type of user it had in mind by showcasing apps like Tribe XR, a virtual training environment for DJs interested in learning to use complex equipment.
Tribe XR is already available in virtual reality, but a demonstration demonstrated how passthrough technology may enable DJs to use the app to play real-world gigs, as well as allowing them to peek beyond their virtual equipment at actual partygoers.
At a press event, Meta intends to sell the Quest Pro in consumer channels to start, while adding enterprise-level capabilities, like mobile device management, authentication, and premium support services.
According to officials, the device is intended to complement and rather than replace the entry-level Quest 2, which retails for $399.99.
For the time being, the Quest Pro is short of enabling Meta''s difficult commercial applications. It has suggested that its metaverse technology would be aided.
The Horizon Workrooms app, which allows a person''s avatar to appear in a real-world conference room, is still developing a mixed-real-world experience. Magic Rooms is the title of Magic Rooms.
The Quest Pro''s price point is still below the cost of existing enterprise-focused equipment such as Microsoft''s Hololens 2, which was first available for commercial use in 2019 and is already present in operating rooms and on factory floors.
Hololens 2, an entry-level company, sells for $3,500 (approx. Rs. 2,88,000).
2022 Thomson Reuters