Are Android apps coming to the Oculus Quest?
This week the VR Youtuber, The Mysticle, tweeted out images that showed Android apps listed in their Quest 2 library.
According to the Youtuber, the apps were held in the preview apps section of the store. This sections is mostly used for preview and beta versions of native Quest apps. Normally, you would find early access games and apps, invite only multiplayer betas or QA testing downloads. Instead, we are shown images of some popular Android apps.
From the images in the tweet, there are plenty of popular apps and even Android games. Apps include Zoom, TikTok, Spotify, Candy Crush, MS Remote Desktop, MS One Note, Snapchat, and even Among Us.
It is entirely feasible that the Quest could run Android apps. It is running off a version of the Android operating system so there should not be many compatibility issues to work through. Unlike games built for PC VR, they would not have to be remade from scratch. Obviously, they would work in immersive VR, they would have to be 2D virtual windows that you would interact with using your touch controls or the newly available mouse and keyboard tracking.
It would be smart to doubt the validity of the post. I tried it with my own Quest and could not replicate the experience. However, Facebook have decline to comment on the leak. The fact that they did not categorically deny it does lend the claims a certain amount of weight.
Even John Carmack seems to like the idea of Android apps running on the Quest hardware. In a Facebook Connect keynote in September 2020 he mentioned that he wanted Android games to run on the Quest headset, but he was not winning the debate internally at Facebook:
“It also works cooperatively with sort of our Android applications like Fandango or the other things there, and that’s still one of the things that absolutely kills me, where I think we need more Android applications.
“We do not have a sorted-out strategy. I’ve got a long spiel about this that I’m not gonna have time to get to, but we have all these existence-proofs and examples of. Microsoft tried really hard to move all apps to a brand-new system and it just doesn’t work out. I don’t think it’s gonna work out for us.
“I think that we need to support our Android apps in a broader sense. We have progressive web apps as the backstop for everything, but on the mobile platforms the progressive web apps generally lose out to native applications, and we care more about performance in VR than in mobile systems, so I think we need a solution there, and we haven’t sorted it out.”
Is this a fake? Or has Carmack won the debate?