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The team behind the Oculus Rift are not resting on their laurels by any means. Not content to merely rely on price cuts to fight for market share, they are also busily at work in the labs making new products.
On October 11th, they unveiled Oculus Go, a standalone VR headset that fills the gap between attached headsets like the Rift, Vive and PSVR on the one hand and standalone phone housing headsets like the GearVR, Google Daydream View and Google Cardboard. The Go does not need a phone.
Oculus has said that the Go can run GearVR games on the standalone device. This implies that the Oculus Go is an Android device. However, according to the official data being released, it will run Windows and Oculus Home. It comes with a small, hand-held controller that has a trigger button and a touch area. The controller also has two other buttons and a wrist loop.
Although some details have been unveiled, the Oculus Go will not be officially on sale in the UK until the first quarter of 2018 at a price of $199 in the US and probably a similar amount in sterling in Britain.
The display is a single panel Quad High Definition, 16:9, LCD display with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. This as compares favorably to the Rift’s 2160 x 1200 OLED display that was, split between two panels. The pixel density has yet to be announced. The Go has better lenses than the Rift, designed to eliminate the screen door effect in which the fine lines between the pixels become visible.
It has no built-in microphone but it does have built-in speakers. A 3.5 mm din jack is provided in case you prefer to use your own headphones.
Much information has yet to be released. For example, nothing has been revealed about the chipset - although industry insiders believe that it will be the Snapdragon 821.
When it comes to look-and-feel and design features, Oculus seem to have taken a leaf out of Google’s book by making the headset out of breathable cloth, like the Daydream View.
In addition to the announcement of the Go, Oculus also issued updated news on their Santa Cruz Standalone headset. Just as the Go occupies a place between the GearVr or Google Daydream and the Rift/HTC heavyweights, so the Santa Cruz occupies the spot between the Go and the Rift. Oculus have added to trackable hand motion controllers, similar to the Touch controllers of the Rift.
With three products covering a wide price and spec range in the VR spectrum, it will be interesting to see how much market share they can take from the lower end, currently dominated by Google and Samsung.