JAKARTA - Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, announced on Monday 22 April that it will share Quest's headset operating system with other device makers. This includes Microsoft, in an effort to expand its influence in the growing virtual and mixed reality industries.

The move will allow partner companies to build their headsets using the Meta Horizon OS, a rebranded operating system, which brings capabilities such as movement recognition, passthrough, scene understanding, and space markers to the devices that run it. This is said by Meta in a blog post.

The social media company said partners such as Asus and Lenovo would use this operating system to build customized devices for specific activity. Meta also uses this system to create a limited edition version of Quest's headset "inspired by Microsoft's Xbox game console," according to the company's statement.

The move confirms Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's ambition to own a computing platform that powers virtual reality devices (VRs) and mixed reality (MRs), similar to Alphabet's Google's way of becoming a key player in smartphone markets by creating its Android mobile operating system open source.

The VR Meta business is one of the advantages of Google's strategy, as the Meta Horizon OS itself is based on Android.

In a video posted on Zuckerberg's Instagram account, he shows examples of dedicated headsets that partners might make: lightweight devices with sweat-absorbing material for exercise, high-resolution devices that are immersive to entertainment, and other devices equipped with haptics that induce sensations for gaming.

Meta said in its blog post that the US Republic of Games is developing gaming headsets and Lenovo is working on MR devices for productivity, learning, and entertainment using Horizon OS. Zuckerberg said it might take a few more years before these devices launch.

VR and MR headsets have so far only received limited adoption, especially from the gamer community and some companies that use it for training or remote conferences. Meta is the current market leader but is starting to face greater pressure in that space.

The old enemy, Apple, entered this category earlier this year with Vision Pro headsets for $3,499, while Google is also reportedly working on Android platforms for VR and MR devices. CTO Meta, Andrew Bosworth, in March accused Google of introducing the system to partners with restrictive requirements that could "split the ecosystem."

Zuckerberg called this dissent in his video on Monday, saying he would be happy to have the Google Play app on the Meta Horizon OS device, "if they are willing." While Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the offer.

Meta says the Meta Horizon OS includes the Horizon Store, which was renamed from Quest Store, to download apps and experiences. The platform will work with a mobile companion app now called the Meta Horizon app.

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