A new charging station from Meta, apparently for the Quest 3, has been revealed through regulatory certification. As with the Quest Pro’s dock, the aim of the new dock security is to streamline the use of the headset by encouraging users to keep it charged and always up to date.
Friction in VR—all the clunking associated with putting a thing on your head, adjusting it, and then going through menus to get to the software you want to use—is a tough challenge that the industry has been slowly chipping away at in many years .
An important part of this friction comes with keeping the headset charged and updated. It’s an all too common occurrence for someone to forget to plug in their headset after a session and then find the battery dead the next time they want to use it. Even worse, if it’s been a while since they plugged in the headset, it’ll probably need updates to both the core software and specific apps before it’s ready to go.
This is a clear problem, and one that Meta has tried to solve with an official charging dock, first sold with the Quest Pro headset. The dock charges both the headset and controllers, keeping everything juiced up and keeping the headset powered up and up to date (well, when the automatic updates actually work).
It seems the company was satisfied with the benefits of retaining the Quest Pro dock, as a new charging station – almost certainly for the Quest 3 – has been revealed by regulatory certification through the US Federal Communications Agency.
The FCC is tasked with certifying products with electromagnetic emissions to be safe and compliant with regulations. Products that use radio, WiFi, infrared, etc. must be certified before they can be distributed for sale. Certification from the FCC marks a step closer to the launch of a consumer electronics product.
The documentation reveals that the dock includes “wireless charging capability for the left and right controllers”, apparently up to 2.5 watts. That’s pretty slow compared to what we see from wireless charging on modern smartphones, but may be more than adequate for Quest 3 controllers, which don’t need as much power as a smartphone or the headset itself. The actual Quest 3 headset will continue to charge via direct contact, as we can see by the pins on the underside of the headset.
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Wireless charging is an interesting change from the Quest Pro docking station, which relies solely on direct contact charging. One reason for this change is likely that the current method of docking Quest Pro controllers is quite awkward – sometimes leading to the controllers not charging when it looks like they should be. The headset itself is much easier to place in the right place.
A Quest 3 dock with wireless controller charging could create more tolerance for misplaced controllers, leaving less room for user error.
A big question is whether the dock will be included in Quest 3.
Given Meta’s goal of keeping the sticker price of the Quest headset low, we’re guessing it will be made available as an optional accessory. But there’s a chance that Meta considers the dock important enough to the overall user experience that they choose to include it right in the box.
If it did make it to the box, it would be the first time the company included rechargeable controllers in its consumer line of VR headsets. All previous consumer headset controllers from Meta have required AA batteries, although it’s always been easy enough to add recharging to the controllers through cheap rechargeable AA batteries.
Unfortunately, the Quest 3 dock will almost certainly not be compatible with Quest 2 controllers because the newer headset uses a new controller that the company calls Touch Plus.
The new controller does away with the tracking ring that has always been present on the company’s consumer VR controllers, and will likely include the necessary hardware for wireless charging.
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