Facebook/Oculus has launched the standalone Oculus Go, which is an untethered wireless virtual reality headset similar to smartphone-based VR systems such as Samsung's Gear VR, but with its own built-in Snapdragon 821 SoC instead of using a smartphone:
The Oculus Go, a self-contained headset that offers mobile virtual reality without a smartphone, is going on sale today in 23 countries. The headset's $199 base version has 32GB of storage, and a 64GB version will sell for $249. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it "the easiest way to get into VR," and in our review, we've found that it's certainly easy to use — but it still has major limitations.
The Oculus Go lacks 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF), unlike the upcoming Lenovo Mirage Solo. It also has just about 1-2 hours of useful battery life before needing to be recharged for a couple of hours, and the company discourages you from wearing it while it is recharging. SuperData predicts that Oculus Go will outsell all other VR headsets this year. The low price of $200 and untethered design could bring VR closer to becoming mainstream.
At its F8 conference, Facebook hinted at some features coming to its future VR headsets, including variable depth-of-field using physically adjusted varifocal lenses, an increase from a 110 to a 140-degree field-of-view without increasing the size of the headset, and built-in hand tracking. (Also at TechCrunch.) Facebook also announced Oculus Venues, an app for displaying live sports events, concerts, comedy shows, etc. in VR. These live events will begin on May 30.
Also at Tom's Hardware, RoadtoVR, USA Today, and Digital Trends. MIT Technology Review has an interview with Rachel Franklin, Facebook's head of social VR, who admits "there's not much to do" in Facebook Spaces, the company's "social VR app".
I want as pure hardware as possible... remember the days of looking at a datasheet and doing some outs, or using some minimal firmware API through int 10h, when you knew you were not being f*cked in the arse by malicious code? Why dafuq would I be required to have internet access to use a display device that was supposed to be mine?
Problem is, the sheeple just consume what is being fed, no questions raised. And everybody gets f*cked in the process.
The days of devices coming with any sort of published hardware specs are long gone. As in, decades ago.
The problem is - and there is virtually NOTHING you can do about it - nobody cares because nobody wants to tinker. The hardware hackers are a vanishingly small percentage of consumers. How many people own a Wiimote? Millions. Tens of millions. How many of those have ever connected it to anything other than a Wii? Almost nobody as a percentage. How many of those just "downloaded a program that does it"? Again, a tiny, tiny percentage of that. How many actually understood, reverse-engineered the hardware, coded up the protocol, wrote the drivers, etc.? Probably you can name them in a single Google search, and I'd be amazed if it came to more than half-a-dozen people spread over just as many projects to do just that.
Same way, nobody cares how their car works. Only garages, tinkerers and manufacturers.Nobody cares how their toaster works.Or telephone.Or kettle.Or coffee machine.Or even how their desk goes together, for the most part. They'll tinker with it once, maybe twice in its lifetime.
You are 40 years too late, far too niche to do anything about it, and literally nobody (as a percentage) will care at all. We're all glad some Chinese guy figured out how to make replacement screens for our phone so we can give the guy in the market £25 for a new one. But when that isn't an option, it barely even affects the majority of consumer spending (e.g. iPhone repairs and turning-off-iPhones that have been repaired, as an example - people still buy them).
You're onto a loser before you even start. Hell, there's not even any point making an AM crystal radio any more, pretty much nothing interesting is broadcast over those frequencies and you need hardware to do anything interesting now.
In the same way that basically nobody nowadays knows how to shoe a horse, make stained glass, thatch a roof, mill flour, etc. all the things you're decrying are never going to fix themselves and only "get worse" over time. Soon you won't know how your house works, let alone your VR headset.
It's a losing battle. Rather than yell about it, accept it. I'm a massive tinkerer but I just can't be bothered any more. About the closest I have in mind is making an arcade cabinet from an RPi and some arcade joysticks and buttons. To be honest, it'll probably be cheaper and easier to just buy a kit, because everything "techy" about it will be on boards using overpowered chips I don't understand to convert basic switch inputs to some USB2 protocol or similar (I2C on GPIO pins or whatever).
Hence, the majority of people - who have no interest, knowledge or skill in this regard, and whose children will have even less - just can't afford the time or money to care about it and just want to phone a friend, microwave some food, chat to friends on Facebook or watch TV. They just cannot care about things to that level of micromanagement in daily life. And even myself, a very techy person, I just got home after a full day of battling with techy stuff, and I want my computer and everything else to "just work". Which often means buying off-the-shelf hardware and accepting the downsides.
Honestly. Give it up.
P.S. Stealth TSR's and viruses existed on old OS like DOS just the same as every other operating system, They were saved at the time by not having always-on Internet connections and download of arbitrary executables by default, nothing to do with the API.
What you say has probably been true up till now, for a large enough majority of consumers for the manufacturers to get away with this. It doesn't help that many people that do want to hack, will still capitulate and buy these closed products anyway due to a lack of choice.
However, times may yet change. The ever widening gap between rich and poor in the western world or, more specifically, worsening poverty, must eventually reduce people's capacity to keep throwing out and repurchasing the same items. There comes a point where they simply cannot afford to. The ever rising crappiness of the cheapest products means many are effectively broken on arrival if not within a few months. So surely, eventually, anyone with half a brain will seek to repair or do without.
There already is a growing movement for Right to Repair. And when you start to look in particular sectors like agriculture, the expectation of being able to dismantle and work on your own equipment has always persisted. It's only recently in that case that the manufacturers have started to seize control.
Open Source Virtual Reality
Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) is an open-source software project that aims to enable headsets and game controllers from all vendors to be used with any games. It is also a virtual reality headset that claims to be open-source hardware using the OSVR software. However, as of October 2016 electrical hardware and firmware source files have not yet been made available. The hardware source files that have been released so far are under a proprietary, source-available license.
Not completely open, yet, but open enough to hack away to your heart's content, with compatibility with SteamVR and some legacy Oculus applications should you want it.