Bytedance vs. Meta: Pico could launch Quest Pro before Meta does
If rumors are true, Pico will launch two new VR headsets in September. Now, more technical features have been leaked: The headsets could offer Mixed Reality features and automatic optics adjustment.
Meta could soon have competition. For months, hints have been piling up that Pico will launch two new devices called Pico 4 and Pico 4 Pro in the fall. The latter is supposed to additionally offer eye and face tracking.
According to the FCC filings, both devices feature pancake lenses, which should result in a narrower form factor than the Meta Quest 2 and similar headsets. Design concepts confirmed this. Pico has also completely redesigned the controllers.
The headsets are said to be aggressively priced to challenge Meta for market share. The company raised the price of the Meta Quest 2 by $100 in August and is releasing a premium headset in October that will likely be called Quest Pro (info) and cost well over $1,000.
High-quality Mixed Reality and automatic IPD setting
An entry describing the technical features of the new VR headsets has now been discovered on a Bluetooth SIG website for product certifications. It confirms older leaks and reports, but also contains new information.
Pico’s fourth hardware generation, which is described as a standalone premium headset, is called Phoenix and is supposed to differ from the Pico Neo 3 in several aspects. The entry promises a slimmer form factor, a higher resolution, and better optics.
The description also says that a high-quality RGB camera is built in for mixed reality experiences, similar to the Quest Pro. The new headsets are also said to feature automatic hardware adjustment of lens distance, hand tracking support, and improved haptics. It’s not immediately clear from the entry which of these features extend to which variant (Pico 4 or Pico 4 Pro).
Pico gears up to attack Meta
Chinese VR glasses maker Pico has been owned by TikTok parent Bytedance since August 2021, which is investing heavily in virtual reality to compete with Meta in the hardware space as well.
Lately, Pico expanded its U.S. staff, invested in VR content, ramped up its content studio, poached a well-known Meta engineer, and marked its presence with a large Gamescom booth.
How quickly Pico can secure market share in the West will depend on the pricing of the devices, the quality of hardware and software, and the app offering. Meta is unrivaled in these areas so far.
As more and more young people prefer to use TikTok instead of Facebook and Instagram, Pico is likely to be successful, especially in this audience, through targeted influencer advertising. A TikTok integration of the headsets could also further fuel the hype around VTubing and trigger a new trend among streamers and content creators. The Pico 4 Pro reportedly supports face and eye tracking.
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