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A duo of reports today suggest that Oculus is about to have a thrilling September: Its standalone Santa Cruz VR headset is expected to finally get a release date — and some Rift ports — while its entry-level Go headset will soon gain the ability to share its visuals with smartphones.
Multiple independent sources have confirmed to UploadVR that Oculus is now targeting the first quarter of 2019 for the release of Santa Cruz, an all-in-one VR headset that contains its own computing and tracking hardware. Likely to be renamed before release, Santa Cruz has been in development for years, and features 6-degree-of-freedom head tracking, integrated cameras, and twin controllers as upgrades to the simpler $200 Oculus Go.
Santa Cruz is expected to work indoors and outdoors, like Lenovo’s Mirage Solo, but its price tag remains a question mark. Mirage Solo sells for $400, and a PC-dependent Oculus Rift bundle with the headset, two Touch controllers, and Marvel Powers United can currently be had for $399, down from the Rift’s starting price of $599. HTC’s standalone Vive Focus sells for around $600 in China.
Intriguingly, the report also claims that Oculus is working to port Rift games to Santa Cruz, a task that’s certain to be challenged by the standalone headset’s lack of a powerful PC. Santa Cruz will depend upon a Qualcomm mobile processor, which though certainly more powerful than the one inside Oculus Go will still fall well short of contemporary PC performance.
UploadVR also reports that the Oculus Go will soon gain the ability to stream content to a smartphone, enabling a second person to see what the VR wearer is seeing. The “local viewing” feature will enable an experienced user to guide a novice without needing a second Go headset.
Via Twitter, Oculus CTO John Carmack confirmed that local viewing is working, but said that it’s still “several weeks” away from becoming available to Go owners. Assuming that there’s no delay in approving the update for Go’s smartphone companion apps, both the Santa Cruz and Go announcements could become official at the Oculus Connect 5 conference, scheduled for September 26-27 in San Jose, California.
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