The Oculus Go, Facebook’s first generation standalone VR headset, hit the market back in 2018 but it’s taken until now for owners to get an official unlocked OS build. The release was hinted at by former Oculus CTO John Carmack in a recent Tweet as something he had been pushing for years. This opens the hardware completely, allowing root access without the need for an unofficial jailbreak.
The Oculus Go is Android-based and has specifications that are not exactly cutting edge by VR standards, especially since head tracking is limited to three degrees of freedom (DoF). This makes it best suited to seated applications like media consumption. That said, it’s still a remarkable amount of integrated hardware that can be available for a low price on the secondary market. Official support for the Go ended in December 2020, and the ability to completely unlock the device is a positive step towards rescuing the hardware from semi-hoarded tech junk piles where it might otherwise simply gather dust.
When phone-based VR went the way of the dodo, millions of empty headsets went obsolete with it for a variety of reasons, but at least this way perfectly-good (if dated) hardware might still get some use in clever projects. Credit where credit is due; opening up root access to old but still perfectly functional hardware is the right thing to do, and it’s nice to see it happening.