Pico Interactive, the VR hardware subsidiary to Chinese tech giant ByteDance, is apparently getting ready to release a new series of standalone VR headsets.
As first reported by Protocol, Pico filed the devices with the FCC late last week, saying in the filing that it intends to launch both a Pico 4 Pro and Pico 4 standalone headsets.
Both headsets are identical in specs “except additional eye tracking & face tracking function for Pico 4 Pro,” the company says in the filing.
Image courtesy FCC, Pico Interactive
As noted by Protocol, Pico appears to have called the new hardware ‘Phoenix’ in the FCC filing, and it’s reported to run on Android Q via a Qualcomm processor. FCC filings are typically vague as to not give away too much information pre-launch, so we’ll just have to wait to see how much of an upgrade it is over its latest.
It’s uncertain whether ‘Pico 4’ is the final naming scheme, or whether it’s a shorthand for Pico Neo 4, although it’s clear the company is looking to bring competition to basically the only real name in consumer VR standalones: Meta. Since its founding in 2015, Pico pretty much only targeted consumers in China and enterprise users in the West. That was before it released it Neo 3 Link in Europe back in May, a device that features near spec parity with Quest 2.
At the time, we surmised Pico was quickly eyeballing North America with its Neo 3 Link in an attempt to earnestly compete with Meta there, although now it’s possible the company is looking to one-up the competition with the new hardware before it makes landfall on Meta’s home turf.
The filing doesn’t reveal to what extent Pico 4 will be able to match Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria, which is a VR headset capable of doing augmented reality tasks thanks to its mixed reality passthrough camera sensors. The price of Cambria is set to be “significantly higher than $800” though, so there may be some wiggle room from a name that’s so far unknown to consumers in the US.
Cambria is said to include both eye and face-tracking, so it will be interesting to see how Pico intends on competing (likely with Pico 4 Pro), whether it be by pushing specs slightly beyond Quest 2 or going for full spec parity with Cambria.
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