The world of mobile VR headsets is going to quickly expand later this year and into 2018, with HTC filing a trademark that teases a standalone VR headset called Vive Focus.
There has been two new filings from HTC for a "head mounted display" named Vive Focus, according to Lets Go Digital, with one of them from the European Union Intellectual Property Office while the other is with the USPTO.
HTC's purported Vive Focus headset would run Google's Daydream mobile VR platform, which has had a hand from Qualcomm in the hardware department. HTC's new Vive Focus headset should feature 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) positional tracking, with 3DoF motion controls, with compatibility with Daydream games and apps.
Google is hosting an event on October 4 where we should be introduced to the new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 smartphones, but now we could expect Google to also tease the upcoming standalone Daydream VR headsets like HTC's purported Vive Focus.
ASUS' mixed reality headset will miss the launch of Windows 10's Creator's Update, and is schedule to launch in 2018.
In an effort to standardize both VR and AR and roll out affordable, accessible headsets to everyday consumers with productivity, gaming, and entertainment features, Microsoft has teamed up with a consortium of tech titans like Dell, ASUS, Acer, HP and Lenovo to make Windows 10-powered "mixed reality" headsets. While other companies have readied and solidified their respective mixed reality creations in preparation for the big Windows 10 Creator's Update, ASUS has pushed its MR headset back a ways.
The headset has twin 1440 x 1440 resolution display panels that support refresh rates up to 90Hz and features two cameras for inside-out tracking, removing the need for outside camera sensors like high-end VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. ASUS' mixed reality HMD also features sensors like an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a magnetometer. As with all Windows 10 mixed reality headsets, the ASUS model won't be wireless or self-contained, and requires a machine running Windows 10 to operate. But unlike the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, the Windows 10 MR HMDs don't require expensive graphics cards and can instead run on laptops using integrated graphics.
The August Steam survey shows some interesting statistics, with the Facebook owned Oculus Rift increasing its market share by 8.1% compared to July's data. This brings the Rift's market share to 43.8% compared to HTC Vive's 52.3%, considering recent rumours of HTC potentially selling off the Vive and the upcoming release of Microsoft's Direct Reality products, should Vive owners be worried?
Probably not, due to a recent price drop of the Oculus Rift and its touch controllers you would expect to see some inflation in the market. With the price drop offer about to end, we should expect the market to stabilize and see a true percentage over the coming months.
The Lenovo Explorer, the Chinese tech giant's new mixed reality headset, takes aim accessibility first in both price, performance, and hardware requirements, and can run off of Intel integrated graphics.
Lenovo revealed its Windows 10-powered Explorer AR and VR combination headset at IFA 2017 in Berlin, showing the fruits of Microsoft's initiative to make affordable headsets that appeal to all sorts of users. Starting at $350, the Lenovo Explorer fits the bill nicely with its widespread functionality: users can watch 4K TV shows, view 360-degree video, play VR games, and even use the headset for productivity via Windows programs like Excel. Best of all, however, the headset doesn't require an expensive discrete video card to operate like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Lenovo has confirmed the Explorer can run on laptops and desktops with Intel integrated graphics.
The Explorer features two-front mounted cameras for inside-out position tracking, meaning you won't need an external tracking camera like the Vive, Rift and PlayStation VR--the headset features a tracking space of up to 11.5 x 11.5 feet. Spec-wise, the headset features dual 1440x1440 resolution displays. But unlike Microsoft's expensive Hololens, the Explorer--and other Windows Mixed Reality devices--aren't self-contained and must be tethered to a compatible Windows 10 device in order to function.
Arguably, Halo is Microsoft's top selling brand. When Microsoft release a new console, the first question asked is 'When is Halo coming out?'
Microsoft recently announced that they're working with 343 Industries to bring future Halo experiences to their Mixed Reality Headset.
Unfortunately, no more information was released, other than Alex Kipman, Microsoft's 'Technical Fellow', stating "We are not providing specifics right now, but it is going to be a lot of fun to work with them".
If bringing the Halo universe to VR wasn't enough VR news, Alex also said "In addition, I am thrilled to announce that Steam content will also run on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Virtual reality enthusiasts know that Steam is a great place to enjoy cutting edge immersive experiences. We can't wait to bring their content to you".
The entire world is waiting to see what Apple do with their September event, where we should be introduced to the latest iPhone, 4K-capable Apple TV, and more. The big deal at the event will reportedly be AR glasses, according to Bernstein Research.
Tim Sacconaghi is confident Apple are preparing an AR product, where he says "Instead, it is evident that most players remain content to fiddle with prototype and beta products, which are still years away from commercial viability. We believe this state of persistent fragmentation provides a potential opening for Apple. Given the relative infancy of AR, Apple does not seem to be behind any of its competitors from a technological perspective: ARKit appears to be just as capable as any other solution within the AR space".
We won't see Apple dominate the AR space instantly, but rather it will take 3-4 years for Apple to get familiar with it. This happened with the iPad, iPhone, and every product in between - and also not just from Apple, but with any new emerging technology (VR is a recent example). He added: "from a business perspective, smartglasses would make sense to Apple for three reasons," those being a "potential market" that "is very significant," the ability of Apple to plow a lot of money into refining the technology, and a follow-on market for "smartglasses software / services" that "could also be substantial".
Oculus founder and VR pioneer Palmer Luckey may make an offer to buy HTC's virtual reality division.
Due to consecutive losses from its smartphone division, Taiwanese tech giant HTC may sell off its Vive VR subsidiary in an attempt to stabilize, sources say. Palmer Luckey, who sold Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion, has expressed interest in making an offer for the Vive VR branch--if HTC ends up selling, of course. "What do you guys think, should I buy Vive?" Mr. Luckey asked the official Oculus subreddit, to which most users responded in the affirmative.
While demand and hype for enthusiast-grade PC-powered VR has cooled down in terms of sales, key OEMs and HMD-makers are ramping up for the next generation of VR headsets. This new generation is expected to include major benefits over the initial wave including wireless HMDs with self-contained hardware, use of more advanced and efficient chips and technologies, and some will even blend Augmented Reality (AR), which projects simulated images over the real-world, in an attempt to tap the Mixed Reality market.
HTC may sell off its VR business in order to stabilize losses from its smartphone division, sources say.
HTC's beleaguered smartphone division has caused the company to weigh specific options that may lead to an outright sale or spin-off of its Vive virtual reality business, anonymous sources have told Bloomberg. The Tawainese smartphone-maker reported its eight straight consecutive loss in May, with losses of $66 million in first quarter of the current fiscal year.
Anshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told us that spinning off the VR division may have been planned all along, and if so, it won't be hard for HTC to accomplish. "HTC's smartphone business continues to struggle. The company has lots of valuable IP in that business and decent products but has failed to compete with the Chinese manufacturers and Samsung. Their VR division is already a whole owned subsidiary so spinning off Vive shouldn't be hard at all and I believe was part of a long term plan."
KFC has come out swinging with marketing ideas lately, with their own smartphone that they partnered with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei on, and now they have their very own VR training game.
In the KFC VR training app, it provides potential employees with a chicken cooking simulation - in a way that has never, ever been done before. You're stuck in a room, and need to escape - but how do you do that? Oh, you will learn how to cook chicken, and that's your only way out. Yeah, weird, isn't it?
The Colonel says in the KFC VR training game: "This game will teach you how to make my Original Recipe chicken ... the hard way. Until you learn how to make my chicken right, you will not be allowed to leave!"
Skyrim is supposed to be one of virtual reality's killer apps, but it's actually tedious and clumsy to play on Sony's PlayStation VR.
After launching on all platforms known to man (only slightly joking here), Skyrim is coming to PlayStation VR--and not just a small slice as per the usual PSVR release, the full open-world game. But the experience is hindered by one critical aspect: teleportation. Like most Vive VR games, users will have to teleport from point-to-point to traverse Skryim's in-game world while using Move controllers. According to IGN's Alanah Pearce, Skyrim on PSVR is awkward and tedious when using these motion-tracked wands, and there's more than a few glitches.
The wands are there, of course, to track your hand movements and translate to in-game interactions, from pulling a bowstring to slicing and dicing with a sword and blocking with a shield. The Move controllers aim to add the critical point of immersion to the virtual reality experience, but at the cost of smooth movement. According to Ms. Pearce, teleporting makes for strange-feeling traversal throughout open-world areas as well as congested dungeons, and doesn't feel very smooth or natural.