Pico has finally released details on its third-gen six-degrees-of-freedom headset, the Neo 3.
The consumer headset was first teased in a funding announcement that the company released in early March, but no details on the headset were included. With this Tuesday’s announcement we know a little more, though a shipping date and price point, as well as a few key tech specs, have yet to be announced.
Everything We Know About the Pico Neo 3
According to an April 13 release shared with ARPost, the Pico Neo 3 is a 6DoF consumer headset with four wide-angle cameras for improved environment and gesture tracking. The counterbalanced headset is made with easy-to-clean materials and keeps the over-head strap design from earlier models, but incorporates a curved display and three IPD adjustments.
The WiFi 6 controllers are also improved with 32 optical tracking sensors. Everything runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform.
“From our new optical controller-tracking solution to complex environmental positioning, the Neo 3 is building off of the Neo 2 to offer the latest technology to give users an amazing immersive experience,” Pico Interactive CEO, Henry Zhou, said in the release.
Considering the Neo 2 was just announced a little over a year ago, the company is following a trend among high-end VR headset manufacturers like Varjo and HP to continually push the boundaries with regular product releases.
“As industries go, [VR] is a pretty small pie and we need that innovation,” Pico’s VP of Design, Ennin Huang, told ARPost in a remote interview last month.
Representatives of Varjo have also told ARPost in separate conversations that rapid releases by manufacturers are partially in the interest of driving innovation in the space – a theme that will come back as we look at how this announcement impacts VR globally.
What the Release Means for Other Markets
While Pico has both enterprise and consumer footprints in other geographical markets, in North America the company is strictly focused on enterprise. Specifically, it has been expanding into telehealth as well as remote education and training – thus the Asia-exclusive launch of the Neo 3.
As other companies have discontinued 3DoF lines, Pico has cornered the market between their Goblin series and headsets that they produce through partnership with Lenovo and ThinkReality. They’ve also taken up a piece of the market as enterprise users continually lose faith in Facebook-owned Oculus.
However, this article wasn’t just to make North American readers jealous of what they’re missing out on in terms of the Asia-exclusive Neo 3 launch. There’s some important writing on the wall for us too.
Enterprise Model Coming to Other Markets This Summer
The release said that more information on an enterprise version of the Neo 3, which will be the “primary device for all markets outside of Asia” will be available “soon” with that headset coming in late summer of this year.
In the case of the Neo 2, the primary difference between consumer and enterprise models was an eye-tracking solution. We can likely expect this to be included in the Neo 3 enterprise model as well and for the rest of the specs to be more-or-less the same as the consumer model.
The company has yet to release price points on the consumer or enterprise model. Director of Marketing and Public Relations Logan Parr told ARPost in a remote interview last month that the company “has always been a competitive headset in the price range for business,” however the cost of enterprise VR headsets varies so wildly that this doesn’t say a great deal.
Recently released next-gen headsets from Oculus and Varjo have seen tech improve and price go down and it would be nice to see that trend continue.
On Pico’s New Publishing Division
Finally, the release also brings attention to the company’s new publishing division, Pico Studios, which was publicly announced just weeks ago. The “content ecosystem” was also a key talking point in the March release regarding their $37M funding round.
“Between the Pico Neo 3 headset’s state-of-the-art technology and Pico’s new publishing division – Pico Studios – developers have the tools to get even more creative with the apps and games they create,” Zhou said in the release.
Representatives have historically shied away from stating that the company has plans to open consumer support in other markets, saying that they’re more interested in focusing on their enterprise solutions. However, they’ve never officially ruled out expanding their consumer markets either.
While there’s definitely room to forecast that Pico Studios is part of a plan for the company to build a large enough consumer/developer ecosystem to more confidently expand into other markets in the future, that is speculation at this point.
All Eyes on Pico
A new headset is always good news no matter where it launches. Even if the consumer headsets aren’t set for North American markets (yet), manufacturers that do have interest in both markets are now up against that competition in Asia, which bodes well for the next generation of headsets from, say, VIVE.
However, we know for sure that an enterprise version of Pico’s Neo 3 is coming to North America this summer and we can look at the consumer model as a sneak peek of that headset when it comes.