Hugo Barra, Vice President of Facebook's virtual reality (VR) division, took the wraps off a Xiaomi standalone virtual reality (VR) headset that supports Oculus Mobile, the Facebook's portable VR platform. Here at CES 2018, we have finally learned about one of the main components behind the headset.
Facebook-owned Oculus on Monday announced a partnership with Chinese handset maker Xiaomi to build a new standalone virtual reality headset.
The collaboration goes further than hardware too, as Xiaomi and Oculus are working together to localize some of the most popular content in the Oculus Store for the Chinese market. The device, called Mi VR Standalone, will be exclusively available in China. That is unless Xiaomi can do something about it. We now know that the device - as well as Xiaomi's VR headset - feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR Platform. Oculus didn't announce availability details just yet, but with the headset making its way to the FCC recently, a launch is imminent.
Facebook has been pushing VR into the mainstream ever since it acquired Oculus nearly four years ago.
Oculus' VP of VR, Hugo Barra, at an Oculus event in 2017. And as it does not require any phone or PC to be connected, the Oculus Go is also among the cheapest VR solutions available in the market. Despite claiming two billion users for its core app, Facebook has never been able to capitalize on that massive group of potential users because it doesn't acquiesce to Chinese censorship laws, which allow the Chinese government to have tight control over the content citizens are able to see and read online.
Bringing Oculus hardware to China is certainly not the same as bringing Facebook itself into the country, but it could represent the start of a more extensive relationship.