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Oculus Go VR Headset a No-Show at CES

Companies from Google to HTC used CES in Las Vegas this week to unveil their new virtual reality (VR) headsets, but one device remained a curious no-show: Oculus Go, the standalone $200 headset first announced by Facebook in October.

The headset got some stage time during Qualcomm’s press conference Monday, where Facebook’s head of VR Hugo Barra announced that the device was being built by Chinese consumer electronics upstart Xiaomi. The three companies said that they’re also working on a China-only version of the device that will be sold under the Xiaomi brand.

Another tidbit revealed during the presser: The Oculus Go is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, which is the same mobile chip that also powers devices like Google’s original Pixel phone.  But the two companies didn’t give any demos of the device to journalists or the public. There was no trace of it at Qualcomm’s booth, and Xiaomi didn’t have a both for the show at all. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that there wouldn’t be any demos for press at CES.

Facebook has begun to show the device to developers, and the company was likely giving people some demo time behind closed doors at the event. But the fact that Facebook wouldn’t use the show to actually show off the device and all its functionality is curious — especially since a release seems imminent: Facebook said in October that it would release the Oculus Go early this year.

The device even made an appearance in FCC filings earlier this week, which is usually a sign that a release is only days away. Those filings revealed that there will likely be two versions, one with 32GB and one with 64 GB of storage.

This is not the first time that Facebook is keeping the Oculus Go under wraps. At its Oculus Connect conference in October, the company only showed off polished photos of the hardware. Instead, Facebook gave demos of its high-end standalone headset, code-named Santa Cruz. The consumer release of that hardware likely won’t happen until next year.

Facebook’s and Xiaomi’s competitors weren’t quite as shy at CES this week. HTC announced and demonstrated its Vive Pro headset on Monday, and Google and Lenovo unveiled and demoed their Mirage Pro standalone headset on Tuesday.

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