Meta will provide virtual reality OS to hardware companies

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, announced a partnership with external hardware companies, such as Lenovo, Microsoft, and Asus, to develop virtual reality headsets using the Meta Horizon operating system. This move will allow for the creation of new hardware devices that will run on the same operating system as Meta's current VR hardware, like the Quest 3 and Quest Pro.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg likened this development to the Android versus iOS dynamic in smartphones, with Apple's VR product remaining pricier and vertically integrated, while competing against a range of devices at various price points all running on Meta's operating system.

The decision to collaborate with hardware partners aligns with Meta's strategy of investing heavily in virtual reality technology through its Reality Labs division. Despite reporting an operating loss of $4.65 billion in the division in the fourth quarter of 2023, Meta remains committed to developing a next-generation platform in virtual and augmented reality.

Zuckerberg also expressed interest in having Google bring its Google Play app store to Horizon-based headsets, and Meta plans to allow Steam and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming to run on its operating system. The Meta Horizon operating system is based on a version of Android, enabling easier porting of apps from phones to VR.

Meta's move to open up its operating system to hardware partners will enable the creation of specific hardware for different markets, such as gaming and productivity. Zuckerberg envisions devices tailored for specific uses, like one that comes with Xbox controllers out of the box. While the business arrangements with hardware partners and the software business model are not yet detailed, Meta's goal is to foster innovation and diversity in the VR hardware market.


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