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Facebook Inc plans to launch a new virtual reality headset

SAN JOSE: Facebook Inc plans to release a new virtual reality headset that does not require a separate computer to operate, allowing for more mobile uses than the company’s existing Oculus Rift product, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference for virtual reality developers, said the “Oculus Go” device would cost $199 and ship early next year.

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality hardware, expecting that the technology could one day move from a niche interest to a widely used platform for gaming, communication and business applications.

In 2014, Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees.

The new standalone headset will be more accessible because it will not be tethered to a computer, Zuckerberg said, differentiating the product from the Oculus Rift system and the rival Vive system made by HTC Corp.

It will also be different from the Google Daydream headset, made by Alphabet Inc, because it will not require a smartphone to operate.

Facebook will permanently cut the price of the Oculus Rift system to $399 from $499, the company said.

Facebook and Instagram users in some parts of the United States, Europe and Canada were unable to access their accounts on Wednesday as the social networking website faced technical issue.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.

Earlier in the day, DownDetector.com, which monitors outages, showed that there were over 12,000 incidents of people reporting issues with using the website.

Fifty percent of the people reported having trouble logging in while 40 percent complained that they faced total blackout issues and the remaining 10 percent faced problems with pictures.