The Tech Bet

Facebook vs Apple: A virtual reality contest?

Virtual reality in focus
Virtual reality in focus

Facebook says it's developing virtual reality apps, pitting the social networking giant against Apple and other hardware-making competitors.

The Facebook apps are being built to work with its recently acquired Oculus headset technology and add to the site's video and photo-viewing experience, according to the company's chief product officer, Chris Cox, at Re/Code's Code/Media Conference late Tuesday. Facebook didn't disclose any specifics about the apps, however.

An attendee wears a 3-D Oculus headset at the 2014 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Chris Morris | CNBC

Read More Apple wins patent for virtual reality goggles

Meanwhile, Apple has been granted a patent for its own virtual reality technology, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The tech giant's headset could work with a mobile device via wired connection, according to the filing, which also suggests is "inconvenient and cumbersome."

Apple has been granted several patents in recent months, however, and the timing of any virtual reality device release is uncertain. According to this particular filing, a virtual reality headset could be costly and complicated to manufacture.

Samsung has already introduced its own Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition virtual reality device, powered by Oculus technology. the company began taking orders for the $199.99 gadget in December.

Separately, for younger crowds, Google and toymaker Mattel have partnered to develop an updated, virtual reality View-Master that works with Android mobile phones, starting at $29.99. The companies showed the device at the Toy Industry Association's 2015 Toy Fair.