On Thursday at the third edition of Oculus Connect 3 (OC3), Facebook owned Oculus made a huge number of announcements to reveal how the company plans to improve its VR hardware, and gave a kind of roadmap into how VR will grow. One particular announcement was about the work that’s going on into building a web platform for VR gadgets.
According to the company, the Carmel developer preview will be available soon and will work on any Oculus device – that means both the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR for now, although at OC3, Facebook also talked about the development of another type of VR headset – the Santa Cruz prototype. It’s still a work in progress, but the company stated that it’s looking at a standalone headset that will be able to offer inside-out positional tracking that will place the experience somewhere between the limited mobile VR experience that’s possible right now, and the full fledged room-scale VR that the Rift offers.
The Carmel developer preview will allow users to browse the Web on their headset, and instantly play WebVR experiences. By doing this, developers will be able to offer VR experiences that don’t require a large download – right now that’s pretty much limited to 360-degree videos, as just about everything else runs on your local hardware, but this could allow you to set up (for example) a virtual chat-room, or a product showcase for e-commerce, that someone can experience without planning ahead.
Although Carmel and ReactVR were pretty big announcements, they actually took up only a small part of OC3. Zuckerberg took to the stage to say that the next step for VR is social software, and gave people a brief peek of the prototype standalone VR device. Not much is known about it right now, other than the fact that it it still under development.