Eight features Meta’s former VP of VR wants to see

Quest Pro 2: Eight features Meta's former VP of VR wants to see

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Meta’s former VP of VR, Hugo Barra, believes that Meta’s “Android moment” has finally arrived and shares his wish list for Quest Pro 2.

Hugo Barra served as Meta’s VP of VR from 2017 to 2021, and in that role oversaw the development of Oculus Go, Oculus Quest 1 and 2, and Ray-Ban Stories.

Barra is currently chairman of the healthcare startup Detect. Despite his years away, he is likely still in touch with his colleagues at Meta and is a longtime friend of Mark Zuckerberg.

In a 12,000-word blog post, he shares his thoughts on Apple Vision Pro and writes that Meta’s “Android moment” may have arrived. He believes that Meta could one day have the same market position that Google has had for many years in the smartphone market, but in spatial computing, with Apple as its biggest competitor.

Apple and Meta as the two dominant players, dividing the XR market between them? This vision is still far from reality. Meta currently has a quasi-monopoly, while Apple has just entered the market and has a long way to go to.

Hugo Barra: Eight features Quest Pro 2 needs

At the end of his essay, Barra lists his personal wish list of features for Quest Pro 2.

“In order to really seize this moment and opportunity created by the Vision Pro launch, Meta needs to ensure it ships a VR headset by mid-2025 that both builds on the new experience gold standard created by the Vision Pro and is objectively a better product across as many dimensions as possible. It is imperative for Meta not to repeat the inexplicable debacle that was the Quest Pro launch in 2022,” Barra writes.

Here’s his full wish list, taken from the blog post:

  1. Double down investment in micro-OLED as it’s likely the only way to achieve display resolution at or near Vision Pro; I suspect this may be exactly what the recently announced LG partnership is about
  2. Build an ergonomic headset that can be worn for 2-4 hours without causing any major discomfort issues; ideally offering two battery options: (1) a head-strap with a built-in battery in the back of the head, and (2) a wired pack (like the Vision Pro) that moves the battery off the head and reduces the headset weight to below 500 grams while increasing energy capacity.
  3. Deliver better passthrough than Vision Pro by dramatically improving Quest 3’s latency and distortion correction and improving upon all of the Vision Pro passthrough issues — ensure no perceivable motion blur, high dynamic range, accurate white balance
  4. Take Apple’s gaze+pinch UI to the next level by productizing all of the amazing research on hand tracking done at Meta (ex: Rob Wang’s super talented group) to enable fine-grained gestures such as scrolling and D-pad selection by detecting small finger movements solely via camera input (this is not the CTRL Labs stack… that’s for the future)
  5. Partner with Microsoft to make Windows computers 1st class citizens in Quest Pro 2 and enable advanced desktop productivity use cases that go well beyond virtual monitors (ex: make it possible to take any window and place it in space)
  6. Launch Android 2D tablet apps natively on Quest to match the Vision Pro iPad compatibility library either by partnering with Google to license Play Store (which seems unlikely these days though I still believe Ash Jhaveri and Hiroshi could work together to pull it off) or just build a curated tablet app store directly (which we had considered in the past at Oculus but passed on)
  7. Launch human-like avatars with Quest Pro 2 by productizing Meta’s mind-blowing Codec Avatars technology, likely one of the VR research areas that has received the most R&D dollars for the last 7+ years, used by Lex Friedman in his interview with Mark Zuckerberg in late 2023
  8. Launch high-definition room scanning and unlock teleportation using technology that has existed within Oculus Research for several years now; it is time for Meta to make this future a reality where people can be remote but feel truly present by visiting each other’s home, office or favorite place

How realistic is the wish list?

Hugo Barra’s list is a wish list, not a prediction. His bullet points sound reasonable and include many important features that a Quest Pro 2 would ideally have to at least match or exceed Vision Pro.

I think points 2, 3 and 4 are feasible, although Meta will certainly not go for an external battery solution. I think it is unrealistic that items 7 and 8 will be included in Quest Pro 2, at least in the advanced form in which we have seen these features so far. Items 1, 5 and 6 are partly out of Meta’s control.

Meta itself has not yet commented on a successor to the Quest Pro. The only certainty is that Meta and LG are working on a next-gen headset, the product name of which is unknown.

According to various reports, Meta will launch a Vision Pro competitor in the first half of 2025, which is expected to cost around $2,000.

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