A mix of SteamVR code data-mining and nosing through Valve patents has resulted in some interesting reports about a potential Valve Index successor or stablemate. In brief, we seem to be seeing signs of a new Valve VR headset dubbed 'Deckard', which will have Wi-Fi connectivity, and might even work without needing an accompanying powerful PC.
The initial reports about Deckard came courtesy of YouTuber Brad Lynch. Members of Lynch's community on YT discovered multiple references to a device called 'Deckard' in the SteamVR code. Lynch put on his deerstalker and decided to look through recent patents published by Valve for any references to the Deckard. His digging was apparently rewarded with several references to the headset, and indications that Deckard; will be an HMD featuring on-board processing, it will have Wi-Fi connectivity, and it could be a standalone headset taking the battle to the likes of Oculus Quest.
Tech site Ars Technica has taken the info-call from Lynch and run it past its own sources to offer confirmation that the YouTuber's findings are valid. More specifically, Ars says that Valve does indeed have a second HMD in development, with a built-in processor, that could work in standalone mode. This contrasts with the Valve Index which needs to be PC tethered, as it is 'dumb' when disconnected.
Valve Deckard might also benefit from Valve continuing to develop inside-out tracking, making for a much more compact, portable ecosystem without the requirement for base stations.
Some further weight is added to the above thanks to a recent interview with Valve's Greg Coomer, published by The Verge. Coomer was questioned about the potential of the Steam Deck custom APU being used in a standalone VR headset, and seemed to have been caught off-guard. "We’re not ready to say anything about it, but it would run well in that environment, with the TDP necessary... it's very relevant to us and our future plans," he said.
Rick Deckard tries to track down the Steam Deckard
Lastly, we must remember that while Deckard might have reached the prototype phase, it might never make it to release, depending on Valve's tests and feasibility studies.