Virtual Reality

HTC reveals first image of its upcoming MR headset for consumers and aims to compete with Meta – Road to VR

HTC today unveiled the first official image of the headset it has been teasing for the past few months. The company is also apparently looking to re-enter the mainstream XR space with the unnamed device, which it is expected to detail in more detail at CES on January 5.

As stated in an exclusive by The edge, HTC is once again gearing up to expand outside of the corporate and business sector and deliver what Shen Ye, HTC’s global product manager, calls a “small, lightweight all-in-one headset that promises virtual reality and fully augmented”.

Ye calls it an effort to create something “meaningful and appealing to consumers”, further saying it’s a culmination of lessons learned from the making of HTC Vive Flow and the Vive Focus 3.

It’s also likely to be more expensive than the Quest 2 at $400, which will be a sticking point if it really wants to be a consumer device, and not a prosummer helmet like Quest Pro:

“We’re in a time where consumer VR headsets have been massively subsidized by companies trying to suck up and take personal data to provide to advertisers,” Ye said. The edge. “We don’t think the way we want to approach it is to compromise on privacy.”

Image courtesy of HTC via The Verge

Ye also revealed some specs ahead of the official info dump:

The unnamed standalone headset is said to offer color MR passthrough, making it more similar to Quest Pro as opposed to transparent AR such as HoloLens. The upcoming helmet would contain a depth sensor, which would in theory offer more accurate mapping of the room. It’s also said to have better dynamic range, making it capable of better passthrough for things like reading text on a monitor or smartphone. The headset also offers two hours of battery life and supports 6DOF VR controllers as well as optical hand tracking.

It’s said to be “one of the lightest on the market”, although there are still a few mysteries to unravel. It’s unclear if it will include eye tracking, though HTC has a history of releasing eye tracking add-ons that it might pursue here as well. Privacy is also a concern HTC hopes to address with its outward-facing cameras, although they haven’t said anything specific yet.

HTC’s no-name headset is said to leaked its design and some key specs in November, which showed the outer shell and alleged dual 1920×1920 LCD displays clocked at up to 120Hz, mechanical IPD adjustments, pancake lenses, headband adjustment mechanism, and rear-mounted battery.

Allegedly leaked design of HTC’s MR Standalone | Image courtesy of Brad Lynch

At the time, VR analyst and YouTuber Brad Lynch alleged that the leak also included vague information about its chipset being “faster than the [Snapdragon XR2] in Quest 2”, as it is supposed to be the next Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2.

However, none of the information in the leak has been confirmed, so we’ll have to wait and see at CES 2023, which takes place January 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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