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".
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.