Bulletins

New details about ByteDance’s next Pico VR headset emerge

Much like Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset, Pico’s Phoenix headset will offer mixed reality features.

Pico G2 headset

A visitor wears a current Pico VR headset at a booth during China 5G and Industrial Internet Conference at the China Optics Valley Convention & Exhibition Center in 2020.

Photo: Zhang Canlong/VCG via Getty Images

TikTok owner ByteDance is taking some cues from Meta for its upcoming VR headset: The device will feature an RGB camera to offer color pass-through video of one’s surroundings, according to information included in a recent Bluetooth certification document.


That’s very similar to a key feature of Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset. Both companies are expected to announce their new devices in the coming weeks.

In a listing with the Bluetooth SIG, Bytedance subsidiary Pico describes the new device as a “premium VR all-in-one headset” that will be smaller than the company’s current-gen Neo 3 headset. Codenamed Phoenix, the headset will feature a higher-resolution display than its predecessor and clearer optics, according to the listing.

Pico 4 FCC filing photo Codenamed Phoenix, the headset will feature a higher-resolution display than its predecessor and clearer optics, according to the listing. Image: Pico/FCC

The entry doesn’t reveal any detailed specs about the device, but it does mention that it will have “a high quality RGB camera to unlock a new level Mix-Reality [sic] experience.” It also notes that integrated face and eye tracking will make for “a more real avatar.” Protocol was first to report in July that Pico plans to launch a Pro model of its upcoming headset with face and eye tracking functionality.

According to the Bluetooth SIG listing, the device will include four cameras “and many other sensors.” It will support dual 6DOF controllers as well as hand tracking, and the controllers will feature “wide band” linear resonant actuators “to make the haptic experience more immersive.” The headset will also have automatic hardware IPD adjustment to adapt to a person’s pupillary distance for a “more accurate and comfortable vision experience.”

ByteDance acquired Pico in 2021, and has since been working to reposition the startup with a broader consumer focus. Pico began selling its current Neo 3 Link headset to consumers in Europe this spring, and started to build out a content unit called Pico Studios in the U.S. this year — all moves that indicate it is looking to directly compete with Meta’s VR hardware.

Meta plans to unveil a high-end headset aimed at prosumers and enterprise users code-named Project Cambria in October. The headset also offers color pass-through video, and Meta has been encouraging developers to build mixed reality experiences incorporating both virtual elements and pass-through video of the real world.
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