Hackernoon logoThe Next Gen Virtual Reality Tech is coming: Standalone VR Headsets by@digitalvijay

The Next Gen Virtual Reality Tech is coming: Standalone VR Headsets

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Digital Vijay

Indeed, the emergence of standalone VR headsets will be a game changer to bring the next generation of the existing virtual reality wave. The standalone VR headsets are those who don’t require a smartphone or a PC to power them. All things such as display, processor, battery, sensors, connectivity and cameras will be equipped right inside the device.

Undoubtedly, we have seen some similar gadgets from less known brands over the past few years. However, when Google and Oculus expressed their plans to bring a standalone VR headset device, a new trend just has begun. It has the potential to come into reality and change the virtual reality space maybe even in the coming years.

The need of standalone VR headsets

The standalone VR headset will promote the wireless experience and will provide the convenience of a portable VR device. It will have the power and pixels of a high-end VR experience.

Then there comes the price. There is not much competition in the price range of $100 to $400. Oculus has recently discounted its Rift + Touch device. Also, PlayStation VR and the imminent Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Dell, Lenovo, Asus, etc. are there.

Still, the standalone VR headsets are at a beneficial corner as the users won’t require buying expensive gaming PC or smartphones for the consumption of VR content. The cost of standalone will be reasonable as it will include the built-in hardware and software to offer VR experience.

Furthermore, there is also a practical reason. The VR experience associated with a smartphone is prone to be ruined if the phone battery discharges. The same goes with PC and VR. When a person is using VR on the desktop, it will distress the PC usage for rest of his family members.

Google is leading the Flag

This year’s Google I/O highlighted the initiative towards the standalone headsets running on Google Daydream VR platform. Lenovo and HTC Vive both are also working on their standalone Daydream headsets. The teaser images of Vive Daydream headsets revealed the bulky yet good looks of the upcoming headset.

Both headsets are speculated to feature WorldSense tracking for six degrees and no external sensors setup to track the body movements in 3D space. In contrast, the standalone will have everything equipped on the headset.

The users can turn, walk or even move without restraints and the headset will maintain the track. HTC has previously confirmed that the standalone won’t have any crossover with SteamVR.

Secondly, Oculus’s first standalone headset is believed to be codenamed as Santa Cruz and the first look of the headset has been seen back in October 2016. In the latest development, the company is also rumoured to be working on a budget standalone VR headset codenamed as Oculus Pacific.

Oculus’s standalone headset is likely to be launched next year with a suggested price of $200. The Santa Cruz prototype is expected to be different than the Rift 2, whereas the budget Pacific headset is rumoured to lack the position tracking system.

Moreover, the rumour mill suggested that Oculus is working on a bunch of different VR headsets and some among them will have full motion tracking capabilities. However, no new hardware is expected to get launched this year.

The route was taken…

At this time, none of these developments is astonishing. Not just Oculus, every headset player is in the pursuit of offering a truly standalone VR headset. Back in 2016, Samsung indicated that it was working on dedicated VR headsets which won’t need any of its Galaxy smartphones for consuming the VR content. The alleged headsets were also rumoured to come with position tracking along with hand and gesture tracking. We might have got the first glimpse at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai by means of the Exynos VR 3.

Last year, Qualcomm bragged an unidentified headset with super specifications- Qualcomm 820 smartphone SoC, 18ms latency, and the VR820 featuring AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440x1440 per eye. The alleged headset was believed to have a close relationship with Google, although, no evidence about this came across.

On the other hand, Google was rumoured to develop a standalone VR/AR headset with position tracking and eye tracking feature.

Intel also possesses its Project Alloy VR + AR reference device, though it doesn’t appear to be as good as Qualcomm’s one.

The previous IFA has showcased the Alcatel Vision headset which was a true all-in-one headset in itself. It was powered by a battery and has cellular connectivity. However, we have not heard much about the Alcatel Vision since then.

Should we wait for the next generation?

The future of virtual reality seems very interesting thanks to the latest developments and innovations. Still, it depends whether to wait or get a VR headset from the available options. Also, it is important to decide how much money you want spends on a VR headset. The standalone VR headsets will be expensive for sure as it will boast fully fledged hardware and software offering.

The existing smartphone VR headsets are competent to deliver high-quality VR experience at much lower cost, so they are perfect as long as the standalone headsets arrive. However, if you are looking for a mid-range VR headset that requires a PC, then it’s worth waiting for the standalone VR headsets. Still, there’s a long time to make this happen.

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