On November 29th, ‘Virtual Desktop – one of the most popular apps in virtual reality – launched on two mobile VR headsets (Oculus Go and Gear VR). The Virtual Desktop application allows users to use their desktop computer in virtual reality.
When it first launched in September 2016, the Virtual Desktop app was available only for the high-end headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. However, the latest roll-out for mobile VR headsets is certainly a welcome move from its makers.
So before we proceed into the specifics, here’s a quick walkthrough to the Virtual Desktop mobile trailer presented by its creator Guy Godin.
Virtual Desktop (Mobile) App Capabilities
The newly launched mobile version of the Virtual Desktop app facilitates a seamless connection between your computer and the Oculus headset over Wifi. This will allow you to stream and interact with any program available on your desktop.
To interact with the content, the app makes use of Window’s native touch keyboard for text inputs. Moreover, your Oculus Go and Gear VR controller provide mouse-like functionality to interact with the content. The rotational controller of Oculus Go moves the mouse pointer by acting as a laser pointer. Additional options include keyboards and gamepads with built-in Bluetooth connectivity.
In one of his Reddit posts, creator Guy Godin wrote that the streaming latency for the Virtual Desktop app is 20ms in addition to the network’s individual latency. However, Godin adds: “I wouldn’t play competitive CS:Go but it’s not bad otherwise. Bluetooth peripherals have a bit more latency because of the bad Android Bluetooth stack but the Go controller is quite good (Oculus wrote their own for it). A wired mouse (with OTG dongle) would probably be the best.”
To get the best latency output and results, Godin suggests connecting the headset to a wired computer through a 5 GHz WiFi router.
Advantages and Limitations
The mobile version of Virtual Desktop has its own advantages and limitations over the previous version. The new mobile version allows users to access their PC from anywhere, a feature not native to the previous version.
Moreover, in addition to the native Wifi network, the mobile version of Virtual Desktop functions on the internet too. Meaning, if you keep your PC on, you can even use it from a distant location like your friend’s house. Hence it helps you unleash new capabilities of the mobile VR headsets. It also means that you can access a good VR porn collection from your friend’s PC!
On the other hand, the limitation is that mid-range headsets like Oculus Go and Gear VR lack the capability to render multiple monitors at high quality. Hence users cannot unleash the app’s ability to switch between four different computers.
Godin said: “I will be adding the ability to cycle through your monitors in the near future. Mac support is planned, just don’t know when this will happen, however.”
Virtual Desktop mobile app will also be available for the upcoming Oculus Quest VR headset which is likely to arrive at the Facebook F8 in April 2019.