Facebook to launch $200 virtual reality headset later this year

Oculus Rift.jpg

Facebook may be looking to sell a standalone virtual reality headset next year for $ 200, capable of working without a linked PC or mobile device.

The unnamed device will be tailored to customers that cannot afford a high-spec PC or mobile, according to Bloomberg. The report did not say if the device will be a loss leader, bankrolled by Facebook in the hope of getting VR into more homes.

See Also: VR/AR headset sales to reach 100 million by 2021, says IDC

Even with the reduction in cost, Facebook is hoping that the VR headset will be able to power immersive games, alongside video and social networking services.

Facebook will partner with Xiaomi to launch the product in China, everywhere else it will be under the Oculus brand. Xiaomi will supposedly add its own branding and software to the device.

Better than Gear VR?

The report suggests the device will be more powerful than the Gear VR, Samsung’s own headset that is powered by the company’s high-end smartphones. It will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, although the report does not say which one.

Facebook is clearly not happy with the current sales figures for Oculus, estimated between 100,000 to 400,000. It recently lowered the price of the Rift for the second time, down to $ 399 for the Rift and Touch controllers.

To fix this, the social network may be looking at bridging the cost gap, even if it means going into the red for a few years while the technology becomes cheaper and the audience gets more engaged.

It is expected to announce the VR headset later this year, with a launch date sometime in 2018.

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AT&T commits to $200 million investment in IoT start-ups

AT&T commits to $ 200 million investment in IoT start-ups

US cellular connectivity provider AT&T is investing $ 200 million in start-ups that focus on software-defined networks, connected services and IoT platforms.

The company will work in collaboration with venture capital firm Coral Group’s Communications Industry Platform (CIP) team to launch the investment fund, with the aim of identifying and investing in start-ups addressing some of the “toughest technology challenges”.

In particular, AT&T says that the fund will invest in technologies that run on its Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), an operating system for software-defined networks that the company uses to manage its own cloud network.

Read more: SAP set to make €2 billion investment in IoT

Addressing a global need

Addressing the significance of the collaboration, Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, said the investment “is part of our push to address the needs of global service providers.”

“We look forward to collaborating with Coral and other CIP members to find – and even create – start-up companies to build disruptive technologies to solve these challenges.”

This investment makes sense and represents the company’s latest foray into the IoT market. A transition to IoT looks increasingly vital to AT&T, which needs to decrease its reliance on the wireless and phone carrier markets.

In April, AT&T announced that it had lost 191,000 contract mobile customers during its first quarter, compared to a 129,000 gain in the same period the previous year.

It’s not the only telco that Coral has attracted, however. In May 2015, Spanish telecoms provider Telefónica announced a partnership with the firm. Like AT&T, its plan was to invest $ 200 million in a start-up incubation initiative dubbed Open Future.

Read more: Vodafone and Spark both announce IoT networks for New Zealand

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