Virtual Reality

Hybrid VR headset delayed after redesign

Image: Pimax


July 18, 2023:

Parts of the Pimax Portal VR hybrid system have been delayed again. Pimax announced today on its official website that it has started handheld console shipping. Later, it will also become the display and computing unit on the front of the “Portal View” VR headset.

At this time, however, customers cannot insert the handheld into the front of the headset, as the portal view has been redesigned (see image below) and will not be available until Q3 of 2023. backers will have their turn first, followed by the commercial version.

In the first prototype, stability, comfort and weight distribution were not optimal, says product manager Snake Lin.

The new design also incorporates a stronger plastic strap instead of the thinner headband of the original. The revised framework is based on the company’s models Pimax Crystal And Pimax 8K. Depending on the edition, a battery is integrated into the back of the headband. Mixed reality is not supported, so there is no hole for the handheld’s front camera.

Update of April 20, 2023:

Pimax has just informed us that in the future, the company wants to take a more transparent and proactive path to communicate more openly about the status of development. This includes developmental delays:

“Our blog post is meant to better inform our customers about the state of Portal, as we would like to be more accountable and genuine to our users. Hope you can see our efforts to end our past passive state,” the company told MIXED.

We have updated the article accordingly.

Original article from April 19, 2023:

Pimax announces the completion of the “Pimax Portal”. Backers should soon receive their hybrid VR consoles, some features are still in the works.

Pimax announced the completion of its module VR “Portal” hybrid console. The company is ready for mass production after 569 initial units for developers and testing purposes, according to an update on the official blog. Pimax now expects delivery to Kickstarter campaign backers before the end of April.

“All orders on the Kickstarter portal are expected at be completed and delivered to customers within April 2023. This includes the VR headset,” the April 13, 2023 post reads. Some apps and features will not work as intended until later updates.

Nintendo Switch meets VR headsets

The Pimax portal combines virtual reality and mobile games. It supports Wi-Fi streaming and connects to a TV via a docking station or to a computer via an HDMI cable.

The redesigned headband promises more stability. | Image: Pimax

The principle of the hybrid portable console is reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch. When users remove the two magnetically attached controllers on each side, the middle part serves as screen in housing the VR headset. A total of 605 backers supported the Kickstarter campaign raising $354,080, surpassing the $200,000 goal.

The handheld console retails for $299 (128GB) or US$549 (256GB, QLED display), depending on the Kickstarter release. The bundle with the “Portal View” VR headset costs $449 (128 GB) or $599 (256 GB, QLED display).

Originally, the company hoped to ship all orders by Christmas 2022. Later, the manufacturer was aiming for the end of January, but also missed that deadline. Now it should be ready by the end of April. Even after delivery, Pimax plans to continue optimizing the software. Due to 4K resolution and 144Hz refresh rate, designers plan to improve heat dissipation in the future.

“Prior to delivery, Pimax will make sure the gantry is relatively stable and will further improve it with software updates,” the post reads.

Other software improvements include battery life and wireless connectivity, which “still need some work on.” VR games running natively on the X-ray2 processor still had “SDK Issues” during the porting process. These issues will be resolved in the future, the company said.

Pimax Portal: delayed development

End of April, more than 20 games should be available for Portal’s standalone VR mode. Support for PC VR games is also still in development, according to Pimax. Pimax also hopes that a collaboration with streaming app provider Virtual Desktop will enable efficient local streaming from the VR computer.

The Pimax Portal screen can be inserted into a VR headset box. | Image: Pimax

“Going forward, the QLED version of Portal will support native PCVR via an HDMI cable, while other versions of Portal will support PCVR streaming via WIFI/USB,” the company said in the blog post. blog.

An investment of over $30 million in the company, announced in February, could enable greater software and distribution reliability in the future. The funds should also facilitate the delivery of the high end Pimax Crystal Virtual Reality Headset.

For years, many Western prospects have bet on the Shanghai-based company focusing on a few better-designed VR headsets. After all, Pimax is known for its high resolution and, above all, wide field of view VR headsets, which the competition does not offer.

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