Project Cambria: Zuckerberg gives hint on price
Meta will launch its high-end VR headset Cambria in the fall. It could be more expensive than expected.
With Cambria, Meta introduces a new product line: Marketed as a professional workhorse, the VR headset brings new hardware features like high-end passthrough, eye and face tracking, and new lenses that allow for a narrower form factor than Meta Quest 2.
Project Cambria (info) will be significantly more expensive than $800, according to Meta. The question is: How much more expensive?
In a conversation with Tested editor Norman Chan, Mark Zuckerberg gave a new hint about the price segment the high-end device could be in.
New technology is more expensive until it scales
In the conversation, Meta's CEO defined the virtual reality goals for the next five to ten years: On the one hand, Meta wants to achieve a narrow form factor similar to Holocake 2, and on the other hand - despite new technologies - they aim to achieve prices that are affordable for the masses.
"We're not trying to produce a $5000 VR device. We want to do something that people can widely use," Zuckerberg says. Still, new technology costs more, he adds.
" When you're introducing new technology, there is this pattern, especially when you're producing stuff for the first time. New things get cheaper to make as you make them in larger volumes, so when you're first ramping up whether it's wave guides for augmented reality or you know some components here at smaller volumes, it will be more expensive," Zuckerberg said.
Will Cambria be as expensive as a modern PC?
Depending on the use case, there's a certain price point you want to reach. For the Meta Quest, which serves as a game console and fitness device, it is clear from the current pricing that this is 300 US dollars. But what about a high-end work device like Project Cambria, which is supposed to replace Chromebooks and even laptops one day?
"There's a certain price point that you want to get to. We buy for all the engineers at Meta pretty expensive computers to improve their efficiency, and I'd certainly be willing to get a top-of-the-line VR headset if that were going to improve every engineer's efficiency by a few percent in the code that they write or how they work together," Zuckerberg says, emphasizing that Meta is also targeting enterprises.
With Cambria, Meta will want to make money
According to the Meta CEO, there will be two different price points: one for scale and one for professional, and new technology will find its way into the latter first. "But even there I don't know that people are going to want a $5000 device. I think it's probably more around what you'd pay for a PC today. So, there will be limits on this." Zuckerberg says.
If Project Cambria will cost as much as a PC, then we can expect a price of up to $1,500 or more. That price would be in line with Meta's statement that Cambria would be significantly more expensive than $800.
Meta is likely to target a price level with Cambria that makes sense for the company in the long run, factoring in more of the expected manufacturing costs of Cambria's successors, as well as costs for research and development. Aggressive subsidization like with Meta Quest 2, where hardware is sold at a loss, is less likely, as Cambria is aimed more at professional users rather than the more price-conscious mainstream anyway.