That's based on screenshots from Twitter user @TheMysticle, who found a selection of Android Apps under the preview apps section of the Oculus store. That section is chiefly used for early access to native Quest apps — suggesting Facebook could be testing the feature right now.
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Further evidence that the feature could be on the way comes from the fact that the developer name is “Android Apps for Quest,” with the associated website Oculus’ own. The attached screenshots show popular apps such as Zoom, TikTok, Spotify, Snap, Among Us, Calm and LinkedIn all available to browse in VR.
This was brought up on our discord today and I just had to check it out to make sure it was real. It sure is! These are under preview apps in the store. The developer name in info is "Android Apps For Quest" and the website seems to be Oculus. Are they finally adding popular apps pic.twitter.com/aUuTuTowLzMay 7, 2021
I wasn’t able to replicate this on my own Oculus Quest 2 at the time of writing, and neither was Android Central, which tested on a number of headsets. The site did draw a non-committal response from Facebook, however, saying it had nothing to share at the moment. The fact that it has appeared on at least one headset suggests that this could be a test feature awaiting rollout to a wider audience.
Facebook hasn’t been shy about adding new features to its hardware after release, as the recent adoption of 120Hz visuals and AirLink wireless PC play proves. Compared to those features, adding support for Android apps would be a doddle. The Oculus Quest 2, after all, runs on a modified version of Android, and you can technically sideload any APK file to your headset.
The experience isn’t necessarily a great one, though: you just get the app sat in a floating window on the homescreen, in the same way that the web browser behaves. Still, people have sometimes found it useful: while there’s an official Quest version of Netflix, it doesn’t let you download programs for offline viewing, while the Android version does, for example.
And whether or not the experience is a VR native one or not, there are certainly benefits to running Android apps on the Quest. Being able to check your messaging apps and social media feeds without taking off the headset would be an advantage, for a start.
From the screenshots @TheMysticle shared, it doesn’t seem like Facebook is planning on completely removing the walls from its ‘walled garden’ store, given the featured apps are largely household names with millions of downloads apiece. Either way, it will be interesting to see if this is deliberate, or if it’s just a side effect of testing that will be removed if and when the feature rolls out officially.
- More: Everything we know about the Oculus Quest Pro
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.