The VR Headset manufacturer HTC made a slew of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019. At the event, Dan O’Brien, General Manager at HTC announced the company’s brand new offering – HTC Vive Cosmos – which hosts inside-out positional tracking and other interesting features.
The company says that the headset is meticulously designed to provide absolute comfort and convenience for the user. The company notes that the “VIVE Cosmos promises a deeply engaging VR experience right out of the box”.
Here’s a short glimpse of the Vive Cosmos headset shared by the company during its launch.
HTC Vive Cosmos Display Features
HTC proudly boasts that its Vive Cosmos VR Headset has the ‘sharpest display yet’ in the VR industry. The official HTC website details say the following: “Introducing our sharpest screens yet. The all-new pixel-packed displays with minimal screen door effect delivers crystal clear graphics bringing every detail in VR alive.”
HTC also confirms that the Vive Cosmos uses ‘Real RGB displays’. According to the company’s claims, the Vive Cosmos will also beat Vive Pro’s 2880 x 1600 resolution OLED display. The Vive Pro headset was unveiled last year during the same event i.e. CES 2018 event.
Increasing the headset resolution with its new offerings could likely give HTC an edge in this game. Ultimately, it is always a welcome feature for VRPorn enthusiasts like me.
Inside-Out Positional Tracking
The HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset will feature inside-out tracking, or what is otherwise referred to as 6DoF positional tracking that eliminates the need for external sensors. As we can see from the featured image at the top, two-cameras are snapped right there to the face of the headset.
We can also see a camera sensor on the side to give better results for room-scale tracking. The Vive Cosmos headset employs the Vice Tracking System to the core. Inside-out tracking has turned out to be an essential feature for many of the high-end VR headsets launched over the last year.
PC And Smartphone Powered VR Headset
Something that might come as a major disappointment to many VR enthusiasts and users, the HTC Vive Cosmos is not a standalone VR headset. Dan O’Brien commented on this saying: “It is a tethered solution initially, but we’re not commenting on the specs or the PC specs that will be required for it. We’ll have a lot more information on future functionality and form factors that it will be supported by in the future.”
However, the HTC Vive Cosmos can be powered by both – PC and smartphone as it appears from the latest trailer. Some questions which remain unanswered at this moment is whether the headset will have on-board WiFi-connectivity? Also, if it is there, how does the Vive Cosmos headset overcome the latency challenges?
Well, at the time when a majority of the VR headset manufacturers are moving towards standalone headset configurations, it remains to be seen whether this gamble from HTC can really pay off.
Vive Reality System Platform
HTC Vive started its journey by partnering with Valve. However, in more recent times, the company has been making an effort to reduce its dependency on the Steam VR ecosystem. HTC has been developing its indigenous Viveport content independent from the Steam VR library.
With the Vive Cosmos, the company has announced its new Vive Reality Systems platform. HTC mentioned it as “a completely reimagined way for people to experience the virtual world—encompassing the total user experience from the moment a headset is put on to how content is interacted with”.
HTC’s own Creative Labs division has designed the Vive Reality System. Drew Bamford, VP, Creative Labs, HTC Vive said in a statement: “Our philosophy has always been focused on developing great products and experiences that create a natural and effortless bridge from the real world to the virtual world and with Vive Reality System we set out to reimagine Vive’s core software experience to meet these needs.
He further added: “The tools and environments that make up Vive Reality System aim to make spatial computing accessible to everyone, wherever their journey into immersive worlds takes them. We want VR to feel less like launching apps and instead like stepping between worlds.”
The Vive Reality System is currently under development and involves both – experimental as well as operational elements. The first experience with the Vive Reality System will come along with the consumer launch of the Vive Cosmos headset at the end of 2019.
The developer version will be launched by the first half of 2019.