Last week, we were able to discover more info about the upcoming Pico headset thanks to the FCC filings of the “Pico 4” spotted by Janko Roettgers. Since I’m pretty interested in what Pico is doing, when I reported the news on my weekly roundup, I asked for any one of you in the community to send me whatever info you could have about it. And today, well, the magic happened, and someone sent me via email two exclusive images about the controllers of the headset! I love this community.
So let me share with you everything I now know about the Pico 4 and its controllers!
Pico 4 Controllers Video
This article comes with the usual wall of text typical of The Ghost Howls, but if you are not in the mood of reading, you can also watch a video I’ve just made about the topic:
Since the acquisition by Bytedance, Pico is trying to become the most serious competitor of Meta in the consumer VR market. At first, at Laval Virtual, the company announced the Pico Neo 3 Link, which is the consumer version of the Pico Neo 3 Pro, which is basically a Quest 2 clone. During the announcement, the company teased that a new headset would have come by offering a discount for new Pico headsets for all the Neo 3 Link owners.
We had no info about this new headset until Janko Roettgers last week found an FCC filing about “Pico 4” and “Pico 4 Pro”. The filing includes an interesting image of the lenses of the headset and a few schematics. From the image, it is possible to see that the headset is smaller than the Quest 2 and similar devices. Furthermore, the lenses are surely not Fresnel and hopefully, they are made for a larger FOV than the one of the Pico Neo 3, but usually, pancake headsets have FOV problems, so I’d hope for something in the 100° ballpark. We can also spot the integrated speakers on the side of the device.
From the schematics included in the document, we can also understand that the headset is pretty thin, so the lenses are for sure pancake ones. There are also mentions of Bluetooth and Wifi antennas, but these are standard features for a standalone device, so are of no surprise.
According to the documents, the device comes from a Goertek factory, like almost all popular headsets. It should run Android Q, and have two versions, which are identical except for the fact that the “Pro” edition comes with additional eye tracking and face tracking.
This headset looks like a potential Cambria competitor, even if some choices make it seem a bit different from Cambria: first of all, it is white, then it comes in two versions, with only one having eye and face tracking. According to rumors, Cambria will come in just one fashion, it will feature eye and face tracking, and it will be quite expensive (the latest rumors by Brad Lynch talk about $1500). If Pico creates two versions, it can have a cheaper one to compete with the Quest, and a more expensive one featuring eye and face tracking to compete with Cambria. This may be a very smart strategy to compete with Meta on all sides. These are just speculations of mine, though, so don’t take them for granted.
Pico 4 Controllers
So, let’s come now to the cool thing of this article: two very beautiful pictures of the Pico 4 controllers.
Looking at the quality of the photos, they seem like future promotional images for the device or internal showcase images which have been leaked by someone that had access to them.
This is what I have been able to understand from these photos:
- Pico is not trying to pursue inside-out tracked controllers like Meta. These controllers have tracking rings and definitely look like being “inspired” by other devices with more rounded designs, like PSVR2
- The controlling schema is the usual one: 1 index trigger, 1 grip trigger, 1 thumbstick, 2 input buttons, and 1 menu button. But this device, exactly like the previous Pico models, also features an additional system button. From the image of the camera on it, it is clear that this additional button is meant as a shortcut to take screenshots in VR
- The controllers have a shape that reminds the one of Touch controllers. Previous Pico controllers were more like wands, while this shape seems more balanced
- The tracking ring is not the same as Touch controllers, it is more oblique, and also this contributes to making the controller more balanced because the ring doesn’t apply its weight only on the front of the controller
- Controllers have a very refined design. They are incredibly sleek, and this is a huge step forward for how Pico gives attention to aesthetics
In the first picture, behind the controllers, there is the Pico logo and some writings. I have tried to enhance the picture, but the only thing I have obtained is that the last line is the address of the Pico website, while the other three are unreadable.
Looking at these pictures, there are two things that I found intriguing.
The first one is that Pico is not trying to clone Cambria. Both the headset and the controllers absolutely do not look like what we know about Cambria. For the controllers, it seems that Pico looked more to be inspired by other devices. This is interesting, considering that the Neo 3 was very similar to Quest 2. We don’t know if going for camera-tracked controllers has been a strategic choice, or it has been due to the fact that Pico has not internally the technology to perform inside-out tracking of the controllers. Also, the fact that it has two SKUs shows a different strategy from Meta.
The second one is the fact that controllers have a very polished design. I have never seen Pico controllers that were this elegant. And this makes me think that also the headset will be very elegant. This is important not only because I, as an Italian, care about the design, but because it means that Bytedance wants to offer products that are very polished. Pico, coming from the enterprise world, has always been very practical, but now it seems that it wants to offer products that are also cool to wear. This is great for us consumers, a bit less great for Meta which has now a credible competitor. I’m very intrigued by this Pico 4 and what it may mean for our ecosystem.
I’m very curious now to discover how this headset will be. If some other community members want to share something with me, please find my contact info here. If instead you want to say something about this exciting news about the Pico 4, please feel free to comment here below or on my social media posts.
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