January 9, 2018
Oculus, the virtual reality device company owned by Facebook, has partnered with Chinese-based Xiaomi to manufacture and market two new smart VR headsets – one exclusively to the Chinese market.
A smart VR headset is described as a standalone, multi-purpose device that is designed to be worn on the face and not carried, runs an operating system, and can run third-party computing applications.
The Oculus Go ($199) will be marketed globally this year, while the Mi VR Standalone headset will be sold in China. Both devices feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 mobile VR platform.
Mi VR Standalone shares the same hardware and software features and design as Oculus Go, thus enabling existing Oculus developers to bring their content to China.
Facebook, which acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, has been challenged to see much of return on its investment.
It reportedly sold fewer than 400,000 Oculus Rift units in 2016, which was less than competitors HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR.
That said, Canalys forecasts standalone smart VR headset shipments will pass 1.5 million in 2018, reaching 9.7 million units in 2021. Standalone VR headsets are expected to help push the VR headset market to 7.6 million units in 2018, twice the shipments forecast for this year.