Meta Has Opened Up Its Quest Operating System to Third-Party Device Manufacturers

Meta Quest

Meta Platforms announced on Monday that it’s sharing its Quest headset’s operating system with competing device manufacturers, including Microsoft, for the first time. This move is aimed at expanding its influence in the emerging virtual and mixed reality industry.

The company revealed that partner firms will now be able to utilize Meta Horizon OS, a rebranded operating system offering features like gesture recognition, passthrough, scene understanding, and spatial anchors for their devices. In a blog post, Meta stated that partners such as Asus and Lenovo will leverage this operating system to develop devices tailored for specific activities. Additionally, Meta is using it to create a limited edition version of the Quest headset inspired by Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console.

This development underscores Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision to establish dominance over the computational platform driving virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) devices, similar to Google’s strategy with its mobile OS Android in the smartphone market.

Meta’s VR business stands to benefit from this strategy, as Meta Horizon OS is built on Android. In a video shared on Zuckerberg’s Instagram account, he showcased examples of specialized headsets that partners might produce, including lightweight devices for exercise, high-resolution ones for entertainment, and those equipped with haptics for gaming.

According to Meta, ASUS’ Republic of Gamers is working on a gaming headset, while Lenovo is developing an MR device for productivity, learning, and entertainment using the Horizon OS. However, Meta cautioned that it might take a few years before these devices hit the market.

Despite being the current market leader in VR, Meta is facing increasing competition. Apple entered the category earlier this year with its Vision Pro headset, while Google is reportedly working on an Android platform for VR and MR devices. Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth accused Google in March of offering restrictive terms to partners for its system, potentially fragmenting the ecosystem.

Zuckerberg addressed this disagreement in his video, expressing willingness to integrate Google Play apps on Meta Horizon OS devices if Google agrees to it. Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Meta also announced that Meta Horizon OS includes the Horizon Store, previously known as the Quest Store, for downloading apps and experiences. The platform will be accompanied by a mobile app now called the Meta Horizon app.