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Oculus' Sean Liu announces pre-orders for the Rift S and Quest headsets. Photo: Facebook

While much of the focus at Facebook's F8 conference was on the changes it's making to the core platform and its messaging apps, its moves in virtual reality highlight a new wave of products coming to market.

Why it matters: The last coming of VR fell far short of estimates. HTC, Valve and Facebook's Oculus all have new and improved hardware, but it's unclear whether consumers and content developers are ready to take another plunge.

  • Aware of this, both HTC and Oculus are taking aim at businesses as well, with Facebook using F8 to announce a renewed Oculus for Business effort.
  • While not as flashy as the consumer market, there has been steady interest in VR and augmented reality from businesses looking to improve training, prototyping and safety.

Driving the news:

  • Facebook yesterday announced pre-orders for its standalone Oculus Quest and its PC-based Rift S, both of which sell for $399, plus its relaunch of Oculus for Business focused on the standalone Oculus Go and Quest headsets.
  • Valve's high-end, PC-based Index headset goes on sale Wednesday for $999, challenging the Vive Pro at the high-end of the gaming market.
  • Meanwhile, HTC's $799 Vive Focus Plus went on sale April 15, offering improved optics and 6-degrees-of-freedom control in a standalone headset aimed at enterprise customers.

Our thought bubble: New hardware is nice, but it's hard to see the consumer market, in particular, taking off until we get a convergence of affordable, powerful headsets and content.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

37 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

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