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Facebook Planning $200 Mass-Market Oculus VR Headset

If you want the best virtual reality experience today, then an Oculus Rift should be at the top of your shopping list. But it isn't cheap, with the bundle of headset and Oculus Touch controllers costing anywhere from $400-$600 depending on the offer. And that's not the end of your spending as a good performing PC is also required.

Facebook realizes Oculus hardware is expensive, it also realizes much cheaper alternatives including Samsung's Gear VR and Google Daydream are selling well and lack the annoying tether to a PC. So Facebook is preparing to react with a brand new Oculus-branded headset codenamed Pacific.

According to Bloomberg, later this year we should expect to see a $200 Oculus Rift headset unveiled. Unlike the current Rift, this headset will be completely standalone, meaning it includes everything required to enjoy virtual reality experiences. There's also a second, more expensive standalone Rift planned codenamed Santa Cruz, which we got hands-on time with recently.

Oculus Rift

Shipping a headset including displays, the components to drive them, and a battery to power it all for just $200 is certainly optimistic. It also means compromises will have to be made.

We should expect this Pacific headset to go on sale next year with prices starting at around $200. It will be more compact than the existing Oculus Rift and lighter than the Gear VR. But Facebook still intends to push its use for gaming, watching video entertainment, and of course for social interactions.

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Rather than replacing the current Rift, Pacific looks likely to sit below it as an entry point device. Where as Oculus Rift will continue to offer the best experience for the most investment, Pacific is a mass market device everyone can use. I suspect that $200 price point could fall quickly, too, if it proves popular. As for Santa Cruz, it will sit somewhere in the middle I imagine.

Anyone who has used Gear VR or Daydream should expect a similar experience from Pacific. Facebook is thought to have chosen a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor to power it, but won't be including positional tracking. There's also a rumored partnership with Xiaomi who will handle production of the new headset and distribute a re-branded version across China.

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Set the “days without a Facebook’s privacy problem” counter to zero. This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. It contains sensitive business information including weekly average users, page views, and new users. 43 hours after we contacted Facebook about the issue, the social network now confirms to TechCrunch that 3 percent of apps using Facebook Analytics had their weekly summary reports sent to their app’s testers, instead of only the app’s developers, admins, and analysts. Testers are often people outside of a developer’s company. If the leaked info got to an app’s competitors, it could provide them an advantage. At least they weren’t allowed to click through to view more extensive historical analytics data on Facebook’s site. Facebook tells us it has fixed the problem and no personally identifiable information or contact info was improperly disclosed. It plans to notify all impacted developers about the leak today and has already begun. Below you can find the email the company is sending: Subject line: We recently resolved an error with your weekly summary email We wanted to let you know about a recent error where a summary e-mail from Facebook Analytics about your app was sent to testers of your app ‘[APP NAME WILL BE DYNAMICALLY INSERTED HERE]’. As you know, we send weekly summary emails to keep you up to date with some of your top-level metrics — these emails go to people you’ve identified as Admins, Analysts and Developers. You can also add Testers to your account, people designated by you to help test your apps when they’re in development. We mistakenly sent the last weekly email summary to your Testers, in addition to the usual group of Admins, Analysts and Developers who get updates. Testers were only able to see the high-level summary information in the email, and were not able to access any other account information; if they clicked “View Dashboard” they did not have access to any of your Facebook Analytics information. We apologize for the error and have made updates to prevent this from happening again. One affected developer told TechCrunch “Not sure why it would ever be appropriate to send business metrics to an app user. When I created my app (in beta) I added dozens of people as testers as it only meant they could login to the app…not access info!” They’re still waiting for the disclosure from Facebook. Facebook wouldn’t disclose a ballpark number of apps impacted by the error. Last year it announced 1 million apps, sites, and bots were on Facebook Analytics. However, this issue only affected apps, and only 3% of them. The mistake comes just weeks after a bug caused 14 million users’ Facebook status update composers to change their default privacy setting to public. And Facebook has had problems with misdelivering business information before. In 2014, Facebook accidentally sent advertisers receipts for other business’ ad campaigns, causing significant confusion. The company has also misreported metrics about Page reach and more on several occasions. Though user data didn’t leak and today’s issue isn’t as severe as others Facebook has dealt with, developers still consider their business metrics to be private, making this a breach of that privacy. While Facebook has been working diligently to patch app platform privacy holes since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, removing access to many APIs and strengthening human reviews of apps, issues like today’s make it hard to believe Facebook has a proper handle on the data of its 2 billion users.

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