The most important description we’ve received about Project Cambria comes from The Information; according to the publication, Meta employees have alternately described the headset as a “laptop for the face” or a “Chromebook for the face.” It’s a device Zuckerberg hopes people will use to get work done rather than being aimed primarily at gamers as with previous headsets. That’s going to be crucial for the company’s metaverse aspirations. There’s nothing wrong with gaming, but the metaverse ain’t gonna happen if the only people in it are gamers. Meta needs to prove there’s value in owning a VR headset to a much larger portion of its potential customers.
Project Cambria is said to be similar to a Chromebook that you wear on your head. Here’s what we know so far about Meta’s ‘laptop for the face’ virtual reality headset. Napier Lopez is a New York City-based writer. He is fascinated by technology, science, and photography, and he enjoys yo-yoing (show all). Meta’s next VR headset is expected to be one of the company’s most significant hardware launches, if not the most important hardware launch to date. The headset, dubbed Project Cambria, has been known about since the company changed its name to Meta last year. However, several leaks since then have provided a clearer picture of what to expect from the headset, and one thing has become clear: this isn’t just another VR headset aimed at gamers.
Meta once uploaded this blurry render of Project Cambria. It’s the only official look at the headset we have. The reference to Chromebooks is particularly important, as it seems Project Cambria will heavily rely on web-based experiences rather than native applications for its productivity. That would make some sense, as it’s an equalizer in terms of processing power. That said, unlike Google, Meta doesn’t have an existing suite of productivity apps to leverage. And it would be an uphill battle to attempt to enter a space dominated by Google and Microsoft.
The key will be making its display high enough resolution that text is clearly legible; nobody wants to be writing through a screen door. According to The Information, the headset will have a high enough resolution that people can use it to comfortably send emails or code. It’s also expected to have a larger battery than the current Quest, in order to allow people to use the headset for longer work sessions. That said, it remains to be seen how effectively Meta can solve the problem of typing in VR. Like many VR headsets, Project Cambria will include external cameras that allow you to view your surroundings. Your friends and coworkers might not be able to see your face, but at least you’ll be able to see them. That’s something, right?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Meta partnered with either company to optimize its productivity experience, but as long as the browser is functional enough, Project Cambria should work just fine with existing web-based apps. In theory. It’s worth noting that the headset is expected to run on Android, which means it might be possible to get some existing mobile apps on there. But given Android’s lackluster support for large-screen devices, optimizing for browser apps likely makes more sense.
Apparently, the quality of these external cameras is supposed to be so good that Meta is calling the tech “full-color pass-through,” but the proof is in the pudding. Of course, Meta’s goal is to get everyone into the metaverse anyway. Then the people sticking to the real world only will be the weirdos.