Later this year, Facebook will reportedly unveil a cheaper, wireless version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, as the company is trying to popularize VR.
Facebook's new headset will sell for as little as $200 and need not be tethered to a PC or phone, according to Bloomberg's sources. It will ship next year and represent an entirely new category, since current VR hardware either requires a smartphone in order to operate (like Samsung's $130 Gear VR) and Facebook's currently on sold Oculus Rift retails for $400 and needs to be hooked up to high-performing desktop computers.
Code-named "Pacific," the device resembles a more compact version of the Rift and will be lighter than Samsung's Gear VR headset, according to the Bloomberg report.
The new headset will have a similar interface to Samsung's VR Gear and can be controlled by a wireless remote. It will be produced by Xiaomi and its network of contract manufacturers. The device will feature Oculus branding around the world, except a custom version for China will feature Xiaomi branding and run some Xiaomi software applications, Bloomberg's report says.
The device's gaming power is superior to that of the Gear VR, but unlike the powerful Rift device, will not include positional tracking technology, at least in its first version.
Last year, Sony debuted the PlayStation VR, a $500 headset that has sold close to a million units and taps the company's gaming and entertainment ecosystem. Meanwhile, HTC and Lenovo, which both use Google's Daydream OS, are working on their own standalone headsets and expect to release them this year.
Also gearing up is Apple, which is betting on augmented reality technology that lays maps, text messages and more over the real world.
Right now Samsung leads the pack with about 22 percent of the global VR market, according to IDC. Facebook's Oculus Rift is in fourth place, behind Sony and HTC, with about 5 percent of the market.