Oculus Quest 2 Replace v37 Brings Hyperlink Sharing, Interface Enhancements
Meta is rolling out update v37 for Oculus Quest and Quest 2, bringing quality of life improvements like UI customizations and tracking support for the Apple Magic Keyboard. A new link sharing feature promises to finally make it easy to send links from your phone to your headset, making it much easier for WebXR applications to spread through sharing.
The Oculus Quest v37 update is rolling out to users starting today and it contains targeted changes that will hopefully improve the basic functionality of the headset while adding some nifty features.
Link sharing and what it means for WebXR
Although Quest has a fairly capable web browser built in, there has always been the annoying problem of getting external links into the headset.
The Quest v37 update finally adds a link-sharing feature that works exactly how you’d hope it would: when you use the link-sharing feature on your phone, you’ll now see an “Oculus” option that forwards the link to the Oculus app. From there, you can either click “Open Now” to instantly launch the link in your headset, or use the “Save to VR” button to bookmark it for later viewing in your headset.
It doesn’t seem like a particularly big deal, but there’s one area where this new feature could have a big impact, and that’s WebXR. WebXR is a stack of web functions that make it possible to run VR applications directly from the web browser. The “instant” nature of WebXR applications makes them highly shareable and ideal for bite-sized experiences. But the inability to get links into the headset from outside the headset hampers using WebXR apps more than you might think.
For example, prior to this point, if someone on Twitter said, “Hey, check out this cool WebXR app!” You’ll either have to remember the URL and type it straight in, or you’ll have to remember the app’s name and then google it to hopefully find it in the to find a headset. Or if you’re really savvy, you can use a third-party service like this to get Links into your headset a little easier (but still clunkier than we’d like).
While none of this sounds that difficult, it’s still a major point of friction, meaning far fewer people will take the leap between finding a WebXR link on their phone and actually immersing themselves in the experience in their headset.
For now, Oculus says the new link-sharing feature is only available on Android phones, but iOS support is expected in the future.
We’re excited to finally debut this feature in the Quest v37 update, although it would be nice to have a similar feature to get links from desktops and laptops to the headset as well. At the moment I think we can always fall back on hmd.link.
The Quest v37 update also brings improvements that Oculus seem to be hoping will bring some (much-needed) clarity to how the UI is organized.
First off, it looks like they’re going without a dedicated panel above the menu bar. Now you can drag the white line below the panel to move any panel from the larger “Desktop” mode to “Tablet” mode. We’re hoping the Library, Quick Settings, Social, etc. menus are all treated the same for consistency (previously they could only appear in the smaller, dedicated panel).
For those who have multitasking enabled in Quest’s experimental options, the larger “desktop” view shows up to three panels at a time. When things are zoomed out to the “tablet” view, only one is visible at a time.
In addition, hand tracking gets an expanded, gesture-based menu. Previously, if you looked at your palm and made a pinching gesture, the usual Oculus menu would open. Now when you do the same thing in v37, you’ll be greeted with a new Quick Actions menu.
As well as opening the usual Oculus menu, you can move your jammed hand to choose other actions, like taking a screenshot or activating voice commands. When you release your fingertip, the selection is made.
The feature definitely reminds us of some excellent hand-tracking interaction concepts that Leap Motion (now Ultraleap) shared with us in 2018.
And last but not least in the interface department, the v37 Quest update aims to streamline the Explore tab, which essentially acts as a landing page for the headset.
Oculus says Explore’s goal is to act as a “hub where you can discover what’s possible and what’s happening in VR.” To that end, the company says they’ve redesigned the tab to better support these ideas.
Keyboard tracking for Apple Magic Keyboard
Along with the new link sharing feature and user interface improvements, the update also adds keyboard tracking support for the popular Apple Magic Keyboard.
While Quest has long supported Bluetooth keyboards, Oculus introduced keyboard tracking in the v28 update so you can see a virtual version of a keyboard in your headset, complete with a (ghostly) view of your hands on it to make it easier to type.
When the feature launched, it only supported a single keyboard, the Logitech K830, but as of version 37, Oculus also added support for the Apple Magic Keyboard.
It’s unclear if this works with both the smaller version of the keyboard and the larger version with a number pad, or just one or the other. We asked Oculus for clarity.
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As with previous updates, v37 is slowly rolling out to Quest and Quest 2 users, likely over the course of a week or more, but you can manually check for an update to see if it’s available to you. Here’s how:
How to update Quest and Quest 2
- In your headset, bring up the Quest menu by pressing the Oculus button on your right controller. Click the clock to access Quick Actions, then click the Settings button (gear icon) in the top right.
- In the Settings pane on the left, select About from the bottom of the list
- Look next to the Software Update label to see if a new version is available
- Check the Version label to see which version is currently installed