Cambria: Metas new VR headset with next-gen display after all?

Cambria: Metas new VR headset with next-gen display after all?

There are new rumors about Meta’s high-end VR headset Cambria. Will it be equipped with advanced micro OLED displays after all?

It’s been just under four months since Meta announced Project Cambria (info): a premium headset with new hardware features like face and eye tracking, a high-end passthrough mode, and new lenses. The device will be more expensive than Meta Quest 2 and sold alongside it. It is scheduled to hit the market in 2022.

Since the announcement, there has been no news about Cambria. Despite the radio silence, or perhaps because of it, rumors are making the rounds here and there. For instance, it was said that the VR headset will offer facial haptics similar to Playstation VR 2 and that it will hit the market in mid-2022.

Cambria: Two versions of a VR headset

Even before the VR headset was announced, there were hints in the firmware code that Meta was working on two prototypes at the same time. Their codenames: Seacliff and Seabright. The findings were interpreted to mean that Meta is working on two versions of Cambria in parallel.

According to the code, the difference is in the display: Seacliff has LC displays with a comparable resolution to the Meta Quest 2 installed, while Seabright relies on more advanced micro-OLED displays with 3K resolution per eye. Micro-OLED is considered the VR display technology of the future and is currently still expensive to manufacture.

In January, rumors from the supplier industry followed that Cambria will have cheaper mini-LED displays installed. Mini-LEDs are an advanced form of LC displays with better black levels.

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These rumors suggest that Meta is committed to Seacliff. This was also supported by the fact that since the Cambria announcement at Connect 2021, there have only been code updates for Seacliff, but not for Seabright. Until now.

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Cambria with micro OLEDs after all?

New findings in the Quest firmware show that Meta is working on Seabright again. One can draw different conclusions from this:

  • Meta could be planning for Cambria with advanced micro OLED displays after all, and may not launch the VR headset until the fall or end of the year when manufacturing is secured. If not, the Seacliff version is ready for production.
  • Meta could launch Cambria in two versions: a cheaper version with mini-LED displays, and a more expensive version with micro-OLED displays that may go on sale a bit later.
  • Seabright could also just be a prototype of the Quest 3, which will be launched with micro OLED displays in 2023 at the earliest. Cambria will only appear with mini-LED displays.

If and when Meta decides to use micro OLED displays will likely depend on availability and manufacturing costs, but also on the competition. Cambria will compete with Apple’s XR headset, which reportedly has micro OLEDs built in. Meta might want to play in the same league when it comes to the display.

If you’re interested in the topic: XR Youtuber Brad Lynch goes into more detail about the code findings in a video.

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