Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is betting a lot on the virtual reality metaverse future — which is one of the reasons why it changed its name to Meta in the first place. It goes without saying that part of this plan is to release more VR headsets, and the latest rumor is that there are four new Meta VR headsets on the way.
The Information (opens in new tab) reports on Meta’s immediate VR release schedule, claiming that the company has plans to release four new headsets by 2024. The first is the long-rumored ‘Project Cambria’ headset that’s expected to be released sometime later this year, potentially September, if what The Information says is true.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that sources claim the Cambria headset will be a higher end device with a price tag to match. Around $799 if the report is accurate, making it significantly more expensive than the $299 Oculus Quest 2 headset.
But it seems the price is justified. A Meta spokesperson reportedly told The Information that it will have a high-resolution display that’s detailed enough to let users read text. The examples given were that you could email or code within a VR environment, which would mean Cambria isn’t a purely consumer-led device.
Which makes sense. If Meta wants the metaverse to kick off, it’s going to have to find a way to turn VR into something other than a niche hobby. Offering a business use for the headsets is one way it can do that — provided people want to take their work lives into VR. Will people really want to code or email with a headset on?
But the big selling point is said to be Cambria’s ability to offer full-color passthrough, for mixed reality functionality. In other words it could end up offering VR and AR capabilities, much like the Apple VR/AR headset that has been rumored for a while and which has apparently suffered multiple delays in the process.
The report also claims that the Cambria headset will run Meta’s brand of Android OS, with the processing power of a low-end laptop. “Chromebook for the face” is the phrase used, with the ability to run web apps and existing Quest software. As for the hardware itself, Meta has reportedly included internal sensors that can track eye movement and facial expressions which can be mapped to the user’s avatar.
The final point is that Cambria is reported to come with a larger battery than the Quest 2, which is supposed to be mounted on the back of the headset. This should make the headset more comfortable to wear, and presumably means it’s being designed for long-term use.
After all, one of the key barriers to the metaverse is that you need to make people want to wear a headset for several hours at a time. Achieving that goal would also earn the rumored new device a place on our list of the best VR headsets.
Meta's rumored to have even more on the way
As for the other three headsets? Meta is reported to already have a successor to Cambria in the works, codenamed Fusion and due to arrive sometime in 2024.
Two more headsets, Stinson and Cardiff, are expected to arrive in 2023 and 2024, but we don’t have any additional details on either headset. I’d hope that at least one of them would be cheaper than Cambria is expected to be, more in line with the Oculus Quest 2.
You can’t forget that the Meta AR Glasses are reportedly in the works as well. Mark Zuckerberg is supposed to be heavily invested in the glasses, seeing them as Meta’s “iPhone moment” and a chance to launch its own platform free from the rules governing devices powered by Apple and Android.
The Meta AR glasses are expected to launch in 2024 as a standalone product, though a cheaper smartphone-connected model may also arrive sometime in that same year. According to previous rumors, Meta has plans to update the glasses every two years, with lighter and more capable models arriving in 2026 and then 2028.