Meta Quest 2: Official Air-Link dongle coming soon - report
The official accessory for Meta Quest 2 will make it easier to set up Air Link. The launch should happen soon.
The USB dongle plugs into the PC and streams VR games directly into Meta Quest 2 without going through a router. Users can use it to bypass network configuration entirely, making Air Link easier to set up. Meta's goal is to make PC VR streaming (tutorial) more accessible.
The product will likely go by the name Ari, although the software feature could be called "Air Bridge." According to Brad Lynch, the accessory is already in the wings. In a Youtube video, the VR analyst reveals the launch schedule.
Air Link dongle launches 2023
The corresponding software is scheduled to be rolled out next week with the new Quest 44.0 update, but will not be activated until it is fully rolled out to all users, Lynch said, citing sources close to the company.
"Ari is a Made for Meta accessory in partnership with D-Link that provides Air Link users with suboptimal setups a plug-and-play solution that enhances their PC VR game-play experience," the Youtuber quotes from an as-yet-unpublished press release.
The current schedule, according to Lynch, is as follows, though there is still the possibility of postponements:
- September 19: Firmware update 44.0 with Air Bridge feature rolls out.
- September 20: The product appears in the online stores of D-Link and Meta, but is not yet available.
- Sales start as soon as the hardware is available from Meta and update 44.0 is fully rolled out to users (which can take weeks).
- September 28: Meta announces Air Bridge in a blog post.
- October 11: Additional announcement at Meta Connect 2022. Lynch was not told anything about the content.
- Q4 2022 - Q4 2o23: US launch in major retailers (Walmart, Best Buy, etc.).
- First half 2023: Worldwide expansion and compatibility with Meta Quest Pro (info).
According to Lynch's sources, Air Bridge launches as a beta feature and is initially only available for Meta Quest 2. That's why the initial launch is limited to the US.
Air Bridge: First step towards cloud streaming?
Interestingly, the software is said to already contain code for Meta's presumed cloud streaming service Avalanche, which could one day allow users to stream PC VR games directly from Meta VR Cloud.
Lynch could not find out when Meta plans to launch or announce the service, or when initial testing might begin. There may be some initial hints at Meta Connect 2022 on October 11.
The fact that Meta wants to launch Air Link accessories shows that the company is interested in further developing and promoting its own PC VR product - despite standalone focus with Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro.
Hopefully, the launch of Air Bridge will be accompanied by an overhaul of the aged PC VR interface, or at least something along those lines will be announced. Meta already promised an improved PC-VR integration two years ago.