Pre-orders Open for the $2700 Linux-based Simula One Headset

By the end of 2022, there’s going to be an abundance of new virtual reality (VR) headsets on the market to suit all tastes and requirements (if there are no delays). One such device is the Simula One which has a unique feature to all the rest; its software is entirely Linux based.

Simula One

Aimed at developers and those VR fans who want the freedom the Linux OS provides, creator SimulaVR opened pre-orders for the headset earlier this month after shunning a planned Kickstarter campaign. A last-minute decision so that the company could roll out its own pricing scheme with greater flexibility, the Simula One will actually come in three variations.

At the top of the pile is the Founders Edition, a standalone headset with luxury design features like a matt black finish, brass accents and a wood panel. Then there’s the tethered version which is the cheapest of the bunch whilst in the middle is the standard Simula One. However, none of which are exactly priced towards consumers (hence the lean towards devs and pros) coming in at $4,999 USD (Founders Edition), £2,699 (Simula One – Standalone) and £1,999 for the tethered edition.

What do you get when you’re dropping a least a couple of grand on a VR headset? Well, the Simula One boasts features like a 2448×2448 per eye display resolution, 90 Hz refresh rate; 100° field of view (FOV), eye and hand tracking, and 55mm-77mm IPD. Pre-installed with SimulaOS, a customizable, open-source VR Linux distro, the Simula One’s other unique feature is its detachable compute pack which contains an Intel i7-1165G7 Processor, 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD.

As the Simula One is being built for devs and hackers alike, the software is compatible with any app that runs on Linux. Plus SimulaOS can be removed and replaced if you so wish. Take out the compute pack and tether it to a PC and you can play SteamVR videogames – if you have the right controllers.

That’s not all! Simula One has augmented reality (AR) capabilities thanks to two high-resolution RGB cameras. So you can see your keyboard whilst typing away on multiple Linux windows.

However, those prices mentioned are for pre-orders with the standard Simula One going up to $3,499 after launch. The company expects to ship the first units “no earlier than Q4 2022” with priority given to Founders’ Editions.

When it comes to all those other new headsets, Meta has its Project Cambria scheduled for release this year and so too does Somnium Space. For continued updates, keep reading gmw3.

$2700 Linux Standalone Headset With i7 Chip Ships ‘No Earlier Than Q4’

Simula One is a $2699 standalone Linux headset with a “no earlier than Q4 2022” shipping target.

While all current standalone VR headsets use Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, Simula One will use a Intel i7 chip intended for high end laptops – the most powerful chip in any announced standalone headset. It will come preloaded with SimulaOS, an open source Linux distribution designed for VR. Using an x86 architecture chip means any existing Linux desktop apps should run on the headset – Qualcomm chips use the ARM architecture, which enables better power efficiency but can’t run PC applications.

Here are the specifications according to Simula:

  • Displays: Dual 2448×2448 LCDs at 90 Hz
  • Lenses: 100° three-element non-fresnel with 55mm-77mm separation adjustment
  • Cameras: 2x wide-angle high-resolution color
  • Processor: 8-core 4.7 GHz Intel i7-1165G7 CPU with integrated Iris XE GPU
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.2
  • Ports: 1x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4) + 2x USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) + 2x USB-A (3.2) + 3.5mm Audio Jack

Simula’s pitch isn’t a Meta Quest competitor for gaming. This headset is meant as a productivity-focused alternative to a laptop running Linux. Laptops limit you to the small built in screen, whereas SimulaOS offers dozens of virtual screens of whatever size you want – just connect a Bluetooth keyboard and position windows around you with hand tracking. It’s essentially a head mounted PC.

The operating system provide a cutout view of your hands and keyboard thanks to the high resolution color cameras. The 2448×2448 displays are higher resolution than any other headset on the market except for Varjo Aero, so even small text should be legible.

Meta has been updating its Quest 2 with productivity focused features like tracked keyboards, multiple resizable browser windows, and progressive web app support, but Quest has only 6GB of RAM and a much less powerful CPU that can only run Android apps, not desktop applications such as Integrated Development Environments for developing software. That said, Meta plans to launch a higher end headset this year and rumors suggest Apple will launch its own headset with PC-level performance next year.

For those worried about obsolescence, Simula says the rear computing hardware is detachable so could theoretically be upgraded without needing an entirely new headset. Simula One can also be used in Tethered Mode, where it acts as a SteamVR headset for a desktop gaming PC.

Simula originally planned to launch a Kickstarter campaign, which we had been awaiting, but the company instead decided to open direct pre-orders instead. $2699 is a lot of money, but the value proposition here is getting what amounts to a $1000 Linux laptop with thousands of dollars worth of (virtual) monitors.

It’s important to note that Simula is a startup company with no track record of shipping hardware. Successfully and profitably manufacturing technology at scale is notoriously challenging, and many hardware startups end up folding before delivering. Simula says pre-orders are only refundable for 1 week and warns it “cannot with certainty predict there will be no delays”. The company provides a preorder agreement which states “we only guarantee delivery of our preorder Offerings by end of 2023”.

Linux-based Standalone VR Headset Ditches Kickstarter & Opens Direct Preorders

SimulaVR, the startup behind its own open-source VR Linux distro, is creating a VR headset that aims to bring the full power of a PC to the standalone format. The company initially had plans to launch a Kickstarter last month, but has scuttled its crowdfunding campaign for direct-to-consumer sales.

Update (February 14th, 2022): SimulaVR has opened up preorder sales for its Simula One VR headset, ditching plans for its Kickstarter. The company says it doing so to save money on fees, which in turn is allowing them to pass on $100 price reduction for all versions of its headset.

The company says in a blogpost update that, given the number of people interested in the Kickstarter, it more realistically looks to assemble the required funds in 1-4 months, and is much less likely to do so under the 60-day cap Kickstarter places on projects. In addition to the $100 savings per-device, it’s also accepting $1,500 half-deposits to reserve headsets.

Here’s the new price breakdown:

Headset Full Deposit Pre-Order Pricing (Early Bird Pricing) Full Deposit Pre-Order Pricing Partial Deposit Pre-Order Pricing MSRP
Simula One $2,499 $2,699 $1,499 + $1,499 = $2,998 $3,499
Simula One Tethered Edition[1] $1,999 $1,999 $1,149 + $1,149 = $2,298 $2,499
Simula One Founders’ Edition[1] $4,999 $4,999 N/A $4,999


It’s important to note that Simula VR is making initial deposits are refundable only for one week after submission. They become non-refundable until headsets are delivered. Headsets are aimed to ship starting in Q4 2022, with the company guaranteeing all headsets shipped before end of 2023. Check out the preorder agreement here for more details.

The original article, including spec sheet, follows below:

Original Article (January 12th, 2022): It’s been about a month since we first learned about Simula One, a headset that’s squarely targeted at developers and people who want to use Linux natively on a virtual screen for work (re: not gamers or consumers). Now the company has released price and specs ahead of its Kickstarter campaign, which is slated to launch at some point this month.

Here’s are Simula One’s specs as they stand now:

  • Display: dual 2,448 x 2,448 per-eye LCDs at 90Hz, RGB stripe
  • Lenses: Triple-element non-Fresnel design
  • FOV: 100-degrees (estimated)
  • Sensors: Dual RGB cameras,
  • IPD range: 55 – 77 mm hardware adjustable
  • Ports: 1 USB4/Thunderbolt 4; 3-4 USB3.2 Gen 2 via USB-C with DisplayPort alt mode
  • Audio: 3.5mm jack, no microphone
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (4.70 GHz / 12M cache)
  • GPU: Integrated Iris XE Graphics
  • RAM: 16 GB (dual-channel)
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

All of that PC hardware will come at a price though. Simula One is set to cost $2,799 for Kickstarter customers, which will then go up to $3,500 MSRP after the campaign has finished. Early birds will be able to snap up a limited number of headsets priced at $2,499.

With the Kickstarter campaign, SimulaVR hopes to raise $2.5 million, something SimulaVR founder George Singer says is the base amount the project needs in order to break even. While the initial ask of $2.5 million is undoubtedly large, the startup has presented a pretty convincing cost breakdown alongside a defense we simply don’t hear enough with these sorts of ambitious projects:

“We’ve noticed that other campaigns will sometimes target very small fundraising goals in order to easily beat them/not risk public failure. That is not the case with our campaign: it takes a higher amount of money to jumpstart an operation like this, and we’d rather be open & transparent with people about it up front.”

Singer admits there is “a very real chance our Kickstarter campaign could fail,” which would force the company to either abandon Simula One or delay operations to search alterative funding though. We’ll just have to see how forgiving the Venn diagram of professional VR users and Linux devs are; Singer says the campaign needs to sell at least 892 units to break even.

Outside of the model mentioned above in the spec sheet, the campaign will also provide funding tiers for a tethered-only headset for consumers who want to provide their own computer, docking stations for office desks, and a more expensive headset made with finer materials.

There’s still no telling when the Kickstarter for Simula One will arrive. If you want to be notified right before it launches, you can subscribe to email updates here. (see update)

The post Linux-based Standalone VR Headset Ditches Kickstarter & Opens Direct Preorders appeared first on Road to VR.

Simula One is a Standalone VR Headset Running Linux Desktop, Kickstarter in January

Developers looking for a unique Linux-based workstation may be interested to hear that SimulaVR, the startup behind its own open-source VR Linux distro, is creating a standalone VR headset that aims to offer just that.

Dubbed ‘Simula One’, the standalone VR headset isn’t meant for gaming, rather it’s targeting programmers, software engineers, developers—essentially anyone who uses Linux for work-related stuff.

For now, the company has mentioned basic features and has also shown off a prototype of Simula One. It’s certainly capturing the cool, retro vibe that’s ostensibly taking inspiration from early home computers such as Magnavox Odyssey, Atari 2600 and Apple II.

Image courtesy SimulaVR

So far, we only know a few definite things about Simula One. The headset is said to come with a detachable x86 compute pack which will arrive with the company’s SimulaOS open-source VR window manager installed by default, the very same which can be installed and run on SteamVR headsets such as Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro.

Simula One is also said to include hand tracking via UltraLeap, a passthrough AR mode so you can keep an eye on your surroundings, and “other goodies to be unveiled in the coming weeks and months,” SimulaVR founder George Singer says in a blog post.

The company is tentatively aiming to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the headset in January 2022. Singer says we’ll hear more about delivery and price for Simula One in the coming weeks, as well as product updates, pictures, and videos of the headset.

It’s clear Simula One is appealing to a pretty small subset of VR users with its hardware-focused approach—i.e. not a virtual machine running Linux, which is admittedly a more general purpose solution. Still, the promise of a standalone VR headset that natively runs Linux out of the box is pretty intriguing, and it will be interesting to see what developers can do with it besides simply using command line to continue work within VR.

In any case, we’ll be following Simula One in the coming weeks as it nears its Kickstarter launch. Make sure to check back for more info as it arrives.

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