The Consumer Electronics Show happening in Las Vegas in a couple of days will see an advent rise in VR and AR technologies and products. But things have already been kicked off with the very first VR headset from Lenovo. It has shown off an inexpensive prototype device which supports Windows Holographic platform. And from what the company has told first-hand users, it is pushing for an under 350gm and $400 device with this headset.
On one hand, the prominent VR players like Oculus and HTC Vive are building upon their existing headsets whereas Microsoft’s partner VR headset makers are building small and lightweight devices. Instead of pushing all the graphics and processor power with a bulky 550gm gear, the company is aiming to target a 350gm weight for its final headgear. Lenovo is trying to differentiate its VR headset from the likes of other tethered headsets.
Taking cues from PlayStation VR, the company is making the headset even more comfortable and snug by resting the same on the forehead and suspending it in front of the user’s eyes. Previously, VR hardware makers have been using a strap-like design to rest the headsets on the bridge of the user’s nose — which could cause pain after continued use. But users who’ve tried Lenovo’s headset are of the opinion that they didn’t feel fatigued after it, which is a common problem with other headsets (ahem! HTC!).
As for the technology packed inside Lenovo’s VR headset, the user is looking at two 1440 x 1440 OLED display panels. These screens are of a higher resolution as compared to both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and might even work with low-spec PCs as announced by Microsoft via an earlier blog post. Every Windows app will work seamlessly and be viewed in a floating theater mode in the headset.
The holographic system, which includes two cameras attached to the front of the headset, uses inside-out, six degrees-of-freedom tracking. This means you do not require to set up any external tracking cameras to provide room-scale virtual experiences to users. But there is still uncertainty around the working of this holographic setup as this would be the first commercial device to ship with it. Some of Microsoft’s Holographic software is expected to be converted to work with the platform.
It is, however, expected to work just fine as Lenovo is experienced at delivering such setups, courtesy of its Tango-powered Phab 2 phone. It might also provide some mixed reality applications, which will be made possible due to the Hololens’ optical projection capability, in the long run. This shows that Microsoft is focusing not only the extensive development of AR but also VR, which are both gaining momentum and popularity.
Lenovo has still hasn’t named the device but says that it is expected to ship sometime this year with a price tag lying between $300-$400. It will one of the very first Microsoft partner VR headsets that’ll make it to the market and work seamlessly with Windows 10 after the Creators Update.