Oculus Go Firmware Root Access Now Available
Last month, Oculus John Carmack announced the unlocking of the Oculus Go OS Build. The unlocked operating system is now available for downloading and sideloading.
Facebook launched Oculus Go in May 2018 as its first standalone virtual reality headset with a price of $199. It was mostly marketed as a headset for basic social VR and media consumption. Unlike most of the current virtual reality headsets, Oculus Go could only track the rotation of the head and not its position. The headset’s single controller also the same issue and was more of a laser pointer than an actual VR controller that gets you immersed in VR. Facebook retired the Oculus Go headset from its enterprise offering in January 2020 and from the consumer market in mid-2020 and no new OS feature updates have been added since. The apps on the Oculus Go store have not been issuing any updates since December and it is not accepting new apps.
Oculus’ standalone virtual reality headsets run a modified Android version. Oculus’ unlocked OS build provides full root access so the system apps can be removed, the home interface (launcher) replaced and developers can now even build apps with advanced functionality which is not allowed in the over-the-air OS.
A sideload of this special GO OS build also unlocks the headset’s bootloader. As a result, the device can no longer check for Facebook’s signature on OS builds. This makes it possible for any custom or third-party operating systems to be installed in the headset. Although there is no such operating system for virtual reality, it is now possible to implement such on the unlocked Oculus Go.
Making the operating system also means that the final Oculus Go software version will be available even after Facebook has shut down its update servers. The move to unlock the OS only applies to Go and sets a precedent. Perhaps, in the future, there is a possibility that we might as well as see unlocked software for the positionally tracked Oculus Quest.
You can check out the Oculus developer website for a download link as well as the full sideloading instructions. Keep in mind that this will get rid of the installed apps and data.