At the Vive Developer Conference in Beijing, China, HTC has formally revealed its new wireless standalone VR headset: the Vive Focus.
In terms of functionality, design, and internal specs, the HTC Vive Focus is quite similar to the recently announced Oculus Go VR headset (it also comes with a single controller for VR apps/movies/gaming). The Vive Focus features built-in six-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) positional tracking, alleviating the need for extra sensors, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. As such the Vive Focus is firmly cemented between mobile-powered VR and higher-end PC-powered headsets like its older sibling the HTC Vive VR.
Interestingly enough the Vive Focus can be linked to other Vive-branded headsets, including the bigger PC-powered brother as well as the smaller Focus. When linked users can interact in various ways like watching movies together in a virtual movie theater. Software-wise the new standalone headset is powered by the open Vive Wave VR platform that allows for easy integration across numerous partnered hardware peripherals as well as standardized software/applications.
Based on patents, analyst projections, reports, and the inclusion of ARKit on the latest iPhone handsets, Apple is indeed interested in the Augmented Reality (AR) market, but Apple CEO Tim Cook recently delivered a bold affirmation that the technology to spin the illusion of high-end AR just isn't here yet. Until that technology hurdle is solved, Apple will likely be out of the AR race, and Mr. Cook affirms the company wants to be the best--not the first.
"There are rumors about companies working on those - we obviously don't talk about what we're working on," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview with the Independent. "But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face - there's huge challenges with that. The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it's not there yet."
Microsoft has pledged itself as a pioneer of the AR and VR ecosystem and development space with its Windows 10 Mixed Reality platform, which isn't the first such platform, but is one with a wide net. The platform has courted key OEMs like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and even Samsung--all of which who have made or are working on Windows 10 MR headsets with VR functionality and planned AR interactions in the future. But Apple isn't interested with being first, says Mr. Cook--they want to be the best, and deliver a quality experience.
We've been eyeing off this purported '8K' VR headset for a few weeks now, but thanks to Endgadget we know much more about it. Pimax is building a new 8K virtual reality headset that features 2 x 3840x2160 panels, meaning we have a total resolution of 7680x2160.
2160 pixels wide means its not truly 8K, as native 8K is rendered at 7680x4320, double the vertical pixels of 4K, or here the dual 4K displays in Pimax's 8K headset. Still, it's an industry first, but calling it an 8K headset is misleading. Engadget proposed 'Pimax 4K Duo' or even just something like Pimax 4KX for extended, or something. I don't know, just not 8K, it's not correct.
Still, Pimax pushes forward with a new CLPL display, or customized low persistence liquid panels, versus LCD and OLED displays from Samsung, HTC, and Oculus. Pimax is claiming something quite incredible, with their CLPL display "completely eliminated ghosting and improved brightness". Pimax is rivaling the latest display tech like OLED with their new CLPL display, which is exciting, in a world dominated by South Korean giants Samsung and LG.
Oculus has been announcing a few things today during its Oculus Connect event, with the VR company showing off the latest version of its Santa Cruz prototype VR headset.
Santa Cruz should end up as a higher-end version of its new entry-level Oculus Go headset, which is due in early 2018. Oculus' upcoming Santa Cruz prototype headset has a stand out feature of six degrees of freedom (6DoF) using inside-out tracking, with Oculus saying their Santa Cruz headset is the first standalone headset with inside-out tracking.
Oculus' upcoming Santa Cruz doesn't need any wires or external sensors, which would make the VR experience much easier to setup. The new prototype VR headset was also shown off with updated controllers, with Oculus calling them the Santa Cruz controllers - it must have taken months to decide on that name. The new controllers look and work like the current Oculus Touch controllers, except they're smaller. The controllers feature the same four sensors that the headset uses for motion and positioning tracking.
We should expect Oculus to drop Santa Cruz into developers' hands sometime in 2018.
The Oculus Rift VR headset now costs $399 permanently, the company announced today at the Oculus Connect 2017 event.
Months ago we Oculus dropped the price of its Rift headset bundle, which includes the HMD headset and the Oculus Touch motion controls, for $399. Now with a new $199 wireless headset on the way, the company has dropped the price of its first-generation mainstream Rift headset down to $399 for good. While the bundle includes motion controllers and the headset, you still need to have a decent VR Ready desktop or laptop computer in order to play virtual reality games.
This price slash is spurred on by low Rift sales. Right now the PlayStation VR headset leads the pack in gaming HMD sales, and the $99 Samsung Gear VR, which slots in a mobile phone to simulate an accessible VR experience, is leading in total headset sales due to its lower price and mainstream appeal.
Oculus has announced the wireless Oculus Go, a standalone VR HMD that sits above traditional mobile VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and below the higher-end PC-powered Oculus Rift headset.
The new wireless Oculus Go is a way to make virtual reality more accessible to mainstream users while blending features from the Rift, and targets the "sweet spot between high-end PC headsets and mobile solutions," Oculus said during today's Connect event. The Oculus Go is essentially a knee-jerk reaction to the Rift selling so poorly because of low accessibility--not everyone has a higher-end PC that can support VR.
This new headset costs $199, and is standalone so it doesn't require any tethering to a PC or mobile device to operate, unlike the Gear VR and Rift. Oculus touts a "super lightweight design" that sports a self-contained mini PC that can power VR gaming experiences found on the Samsung Gear VR--but Oculus didn't stipulate whether or not the Go can run traditional Rift VR games (probably not). The Oculus Go also features "next-gen" VR lenses and a WQHD 2560x1440 resolution LCD display. Built-in headsets beam spatial audio for a more immersive experience.
We have no idea when Magic Leap will release their headset, or what it'll end up being released as, not what it'll look like... but we know that they will have Madefire's mixed reality comics on day one.
Both companies announced the partnership during New York Comic Con, sayign that they've been working together for the past five years. Magic Leap's upcoming mixed reality headset will provide a truly next-gen content experience, with comic books that will look like they're 3D illustrations floating in mid-air, where you'll be able to pin them to your room like customizable digital wallpaper.
Madefire will have major comics from Marvel, DC, and Blizzard... with that alone being worth whatever price the admission is for Magic Leap. Madefire has also promised original titles just for the mixed reality headset, too.
With a standardized platform, SteamVR support, and increased accessibility, Microsoft's wide net of OEM-powered Mixed Reality headsets will have significant advantages over its competitors at launch--which should see the headsets outselling the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift by two-to-one, analyst firm SuperData predicts.
Microsoft's new Windows 10 Mixed Reality platform is the first earnest push to cohesively meld big OEMs and low-cost headsets together into a standardized OS-level framework. OEMs like HP, Dell, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and now Samsung are all making their own Windows 10 powered headsets that range from $299 upwards of $500, and all provide slightly different features while retaining a core experience. Big advantages include built-in tracking, Windows 10 support with a slew of software and development tools, SteamVR gaming support, and two wand controllers that come with every headset.
The real goal is to push Mixed Reality--which includes both Virtual and Augmented Realities--to new heights by abolishing key barriers that stand in the way of VR's mainstream adoption. Essentially Microsoft's MR platform aims to merge the ease-of-use and accessibility of mobile-powered VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, which sits at the top of the VR market, with the high-powered dedicated gaming headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, all while wrapping everything up into a neat Windows 10 package. Using the OS and various tools, OEMs can make lower cost headsets that can run on integrated laptop graphics instead of expensive discrete video cards while splashing in productivity and entertainment capabilities to boot.
Samsung has been working closely with Oculus on its GearVR mobile headsets, but now the company has finally unveiled its new Odyssey headset, a premium VR experience for $499.
The new Samsung Odyssey VR headset is part of Microsoft's new mixed reality headsets, with some of the highest-resolution VR and current-gen OLED panels inside offering "one of the more pleasant VR experiences" one of Mashable's editors has ever experienced.
Samsung's new Odyssey headset rocks a 2880 x 1600 display, which is a higher-res unit when you compare it to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with 2160 x 1200 resolutions. Samsung is also using OLED technology will is capable of superior colors, vibrancy, blacks, and is shaper than its LCD-based rivals.
343 Industries exec Kiki Wolfkill is very, very passionate about Microsoft's new Mixed Reality platform--so much that we should expect to see more Halo games based in the new medium.
Mixed reality--the mystical combination of virtual and augmented realities--has been lauded by evangelists and challenged critics since its inception, but the Halo developers at 343 Industries are keen on using the fancy technology to tell Halo stories. The studio plans to release Halo: Recruit--a small slice of tech demo that's "not a game, not even part of a game" but a five-minute toe-dipping that represents 343i's very early adoption of mixed reality--this month on Microsoft's new Mixed Reality platform. The ecosystem sees major OEMs like Dell, ASUS, Acer, LG and even Samsung working together to further VR and AR technology while being tethered to the Windows 10 operating system.
I've talked to a few people who tried the Halo: Recruit demo and the consensus is it's pretty bad and meager--it's this weird combination of 2D and 3D tech that actually simulates a theater-like experience that sees players take on the role of a UNSC recruit who shoots enemies on a 2D screen. Halo: Recruit is a glorified target range and really shouldn't have the Halo name attached to it--It's totally not what you'd expect from a Halo Mixed Reality experience, and you're not dropping into Master Chief's shoes to blast enemies who are projected in your home environment, AR-style.
But with enough time, those experiences could come, and the upcoming Halo 6 may even have a VR or AR tie-in of sorts. This could be a brand new medium to tell Halo stories on, to breathe new life into the universe.