Last week, we were able to find out more information on the upcoming Pico headphones thanks to the FCC documentation of the “Pico 4” sighted by Janko Roettgers. Since I am quite interested in what Pico is doing, when I reported the news on my weekly roundup, I asked some of you in the community to send me any information about it. And today, well, the magic happened and someone emailed me two exclusive images on the headphone controllers! I love this community.
So let me share everything I now know about the Pico 4 and its controllers!
Pico video controller 4
This article comes with the usual wall of text typical of The Ghost Howls, but if you’re not in the mood to read, you can also watch a video I just made on the subject:
Since the acquisition by Bytedance, Pico is looking to become Meta’s most serious competitor in the consumer VR market. Initially, 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 clone of Quest 2. During the announcement, the company teased that a new headset was coming offering a discount on the new Pico headphones to all Neo 3 Link owners.
We had no information on this new headset until Janko Roettgers last week found an FCC deposit on “Pico 4” and “Pico 4 Pro”. The deposit includes an interesting image of the headset lenses and some schematics. From the image, you can see it the headset is smaller than the Quest 2 and similar devices. Furthermore, the lenses are definitely not Fresnel and hopefully they are done for a larger FOV compared to that of the Pico Neo 3, but pancake headphones usually have FOV issues, so I’m hoping for something in the 100 ° playing field. We can also locate the built-in speakers on the side of the device.
From the diagrams included in the document, we can also understand this the headset is pretty thin so the lenses are definitely pancakes. There are also mentions of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennasbut these are standard features for a standalone device, so they’re no surprise.
According to the documents, the device comes from a Goertek factory, like almost all popular headphones. It should run Android Q, and they have two versions, which are identical except that the “Pro” edition comes with additional eye tracking and face tracking.
This headset looks like a potential Cambria competitoreven if some choices make it look a little different from Cambria: first of all it’s white, then it is available in two versions, with only one with eye and face detection. According to rumors, Cambria will only come one way, will feature eye and face tracking, and will be quite expensive (Brad Lynch’s latest rumors let’s talk about $ 1500). If Pico creates two versions, can have a cheaper one to compete with the Quest and a more expensive one with eye and face detection to compete with Cambria. This could be a very smart strategy to compete with Meta on all fronts. These are just my speculations, though, so don’t take them for granted.
Pico Controller 4
So, let’s now come to the interesting thing about this article: two beautiful pictures of the Pico 4 controllers.
Looking at the quality of the photos, they look like future promotional images for the device or interior showcase images leaked by someone who accessed them.
This is what I could understand from these photos:
- Pico isn’t trying to pursue tracked controllers like Meta. These controllers have tracking rings and definitely look “inspired” by other devices with more rounded designs, such as PSVR2
- The control scheme is the usual: 1 index trigger, 1 handle trigger, 1 lever, 2 input buttons and 1 menu button. But this device, just like the previous Pico models, it also has an additional system button. From the camera image on it, it is clear that this additional button is intended as a shortcut to take screenshots in VR
- The controllers have a shape that resembles that of Touch controllers. Previous Pico controllers were more like wands, while this form seems more balanced
- The tracking ring is not the same as the Touch controllers, it is more oblique, which also helps to make the controller more balanced because the ring does not apply its weight only to the front of the controller
- The controllers have a very refined design. They are incredibly stylish and this is a huge step forward for the way Pico pays attention to aesthetics
In the first photo, behind the controllers, there is the Pico logo and some writings. I tried to improve the photo, but the only thing I got is that tthe last line is the address of the Pico websitewhile the other three are illegible.
Looking at these images, there are two things that I found intriguing.
The first is that Pico is not trying to clone Cambria. Both the headset and the controllers look absolutely nothing like what we know of Cambria. For controllers, it seems Pico felt more inspired by other devices. This is interesting, considering that the Neo 3 was very similar to Quest 2. We don’t know whether to opt for camera controllers was it a strategic choice, or it was due to the fact that Pico does not have the technology internally to perform inside-out tracking of data controllers. Also, the fact that it has two SKUs shows a different strategy than Meta.
The second is the fact that the controllers have a very exquisite design. I have never seen such elegant Pico controllers. And this makes me think that the headset will also be very stylish. This is important not only because I, as an Italian, care about design, but because it means that Bytedance wants to offer very refined products. Pico, hailing from the corporate world, has always been very practical, but now it seems so wants to offer products that are also cool to wear. This is great for us consumers, a little less for Meta that has now a credible competitor. I am very intrigued by this Pico 4 and what it could mean for our ecosystem.
I am very curious now to find out what these headphones will look like. If other community members want to share something with me, find my contact information here. If you want to say something about this exciting news on the Pico 4 instead, feel free to comment below or on my social media posts.
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