Last week, we were able to discover more info on the next Pico helmet thanks to the FCC filings of the “Pico 4” spotted by Janko Roettgers. As I’m quite interested in what Pico is up to, when I reported the news on my weekly roundup, I asked one of you in the community to send me any information that you might have about it. And today, well, the magic happened, and someone emailed me two exclusive images on the headset controllers! I love this community.
So let me share with you everything I now know about the Pico 4 and its controllers!
Video of Pico 4 controllers
This article comes with the usual The Ghost Howls typical wall of text, 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 trying to become Meta’s most serious competitor in the consumer VR market. 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 clone of Quest 2. During the announcement, the company teased that a new helmet would come by offering a discount on new Pico headsets to all Neo 3 Link owners.
We had no information about this new helmet until Janko Roettgers found an FCC filing on “Pico 4” and “Pico 4 Pro” last week. The file includes an interesting image of the lenses of the helmet and some diagrams. In the image it is possible to see that the headset is smaller than the Quest 2 and similar devices. Otherwise, the lenses are surely not Fresnel and i hope they are done for a larger FOV than the Pico Neo 3, but generally pancake headsets have FOV issues, so I’m hoping for something in the 100s. You can also spot built-in speakers on the side of the device.
From the diagrams included in the document, we can also understand that the helmet is quite thin, so the lenses are pancakes for sure. There are also mentions of Bluetooth and Wifi antennasbut these are standard features for a standalone device, so no surprises.
According to the documents, the device comes from a Goertek factory, like almost all popular headphones. It should run Android Q, and 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 competitoralthough some choices make it look a bit different from Cambria: first it’s white, then it comes in two versions, only one having eye and face tracking. Cambria is rumored to only show up one way, it’ll feature eye and face tracking, and it’ll be pretty expensive (the latest Brad Lynch rumors talk about $1500). If Pico creates two versions, it may have a cheaper one to rival the Quest, and a more expensive one with eye and face tracking to rival Cambria. It can be a very smart strategy to compete with Meta from all sides. This is just speculation on my part, so don’t take it for granted.
Pico 4 controllers
So, now for the cool stuff in this article: two very nice photos of the Pico 4 controllers.
Looking at the quality of the photos, they look like future promotional images for the device or internal showcase images that were leaked by someone who had access to them.
Here is what I was able to understand from these photos:
- Pico doesn’t try to chase upside-down tracked controllers like Meta. These controllers have tracking rings and certainly seem to be “inspired” by other devices with more rounded designs, like the PSVR2
- The control scheme is the usual scheme: 1 index trigger, 1 handle trigger, 1 joystick, 2 input buttons and 1 menu button. But this device, just like previous Pico models, also has an additional system button. From the camera image above, it’s clear that this extra button is meant to a shortcut for taking screenshots in VR
- The controllers have a shape reminiscent of Touch controllers. Previous Pico controllers were more like wands, while this shape seems more balanced
- The tracking ring is not the same as the touch controllers, it is more oblique, and this also helps to make the controller more balanced because the ring does not apply its weight only on the front face of the controller
- The controllers have a very refined design. They’re incredibly stylish, and it’s a huge step forward for the way Pico pays attention to aesthetics.
On the first photo, behind the controllers, we find the Pico logo and some writing. I tried to improve the image, but the only thing I got was that tThe last line is the Pico site addresswhile the other three are illegible.
Looking at these photos, there are two things that I found intriguing.
The first is that Pico does not attempt to clone Cambria. The headset and controllers are absolutely unlike what we know from Cambria. For the controllers, it seems that Pico has rather sought to draw inspiration from other devices. That’s interesting, considering the Neo 3 was very similar to Quest 2. We don’t know if we’re opting for camera-tracked controllers. was a strategic choice, or it was due to Pico not having the technology in-house to track upside down controllers. Also, the fact that it has two SKUs shows a different Meta strategy.
The second is the fact that the controllers have a very neat design. I’ve never seen such sleek Pico controllers. And it makes me think that the helmet will also be very elegant. It’s important not only because, as an Italian, I care about design, but because this means that Bytedance wants to offer very neat products. Pico, coming from the corporate world, has always been very practical, but now it seems that she wants to offer products that are also cool to wear. This is very good for us consumers, a little less good for Meta which has now a credible competitor. I am very intrigued by this Pico 4 and what it can mean for our ecosystem.
I am very curious now to find out how this helmet will be. If other members of the community want to share something with me, please find my contact information here. If you’d like to say something about this exciting Pico 4 news instead, feel free to comment below or on my social media posts.
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