More Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Debut at Computex

Posted on May 31, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 14 Comments

More Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Debut at Computex

At Computex 2017 this morning, Microsoft and a variety of hardware partners showed off the final designs of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets that will ship in time for the holidays.

Most of these Windows Mixed Reality headsets actually debuted at CES back in January. But today, we’re seeing a few final designs for the first time, including the entries from ASUS and Dell.

In short, Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo will all sell Windows Mixed Reality headsets in time for the holiday selling season. Each will be relatively affordable, depending on your definition of affordable, with prices starting at $300. (PC-based virtual reality, or VR, tends to be expensive, and has required higher-end PCs to date. But phone-based VR can be had for as little as $20.)

Some of these devices are pretty cool looking. The ASUS headset, for example, features “a unique polygonal 3D cover panel” that can’t be seen when the headset is worn.

And the stylish Dell unit looks like it was influenced by WALL-E, with a white, curvy design.

Because these headsets all conform to the Windows Mixed Reality standard, they are all universally compatible with the same VR software that’s built-in to Windows 10, and they will work broadly with the same apps and games. Each includes built-in sensors with “inside-out tracking,” meaning that they don’t require external tracking hardware like high-end VR systems such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. But each is likewise a tethered system, unlike HoloLens, meaning that they must be connected to a PC using a cable.

And despite Microsoft’s “mixed reality” branding, these devices are simply VR headsets, and should not to be confused with the true MR capabilities of the more powerful and much more expensive HoloLens.

 

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “More Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Debut at Computex”

  1. GeekWithKids

    Couldn't these provide a Mixed-Reality experience if they were paired with a camera to give you a view of the world, and then have the Holograms interact with the image from a camera?

  2. wright_is

    What sort of specs does the host need? Are we still talking about ultra high-end gaming rigs, or will it now work on "normal" equipment, E.g. HP Spectre x360 - Intel mobile chips and integrated graphics?

  3. jboman32768

    With stereo cameras on the outside, why would theses devices not be capable of at least basic MR?

    • Neville Bagnall

      In reply to jboman32768:

      This. Truly placeable holograms are unlikely to be possible, but with cameras would it not be possible to achieve what iirc they call "follow me" behaviour in HoloLens? In other words an augmented reality style real world (camera) view with added "floating" apps at fixed locations relative to your head. Yes, doing this on a big, face obscuring, tethered headset is somewhat silly, but its probably good enough and cheap enough for many scenarios and an improvement on pure VR in some others.

  4. Tony Barrett

    I have a sneaking suspicion that VR/MR is going to fall flat on it's ar*e. Other than gamers and very niche professional markets, the consumer is just not going to be interested. Headsets like this will be novelties at best, but probably just gimmicks that will get forgotten about very quickly.

    I'm sure MS have promised much to get the buy-in from their partners. Once again though, they could all come up disappointed.

    • The Governed

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Cardboard is obviously a novelty and a "tester" product. But I don't see these headsets going the same way "as much". These will be marketed really really well and hard as hell around the holidays. They WILL sell.... Although I truly believe the hololense mixed reality is the real gold. Simply because nobody wants to feel so vulnerable with a headset.

  5. Jeff Jones

    I sort of feel like we should revolt at the name Mixed Reality and just call it Augmented Reality. AR is a better name that doesn't give off connotations of being "mixed up" or "confused" reality. We are taking reality and enhancing it, not mixing it.

    • Matthias Kraßnitzer

      In reply to Jeff Jones:

      I think mixed reality is exactly the right term for self spacial aware AR/VR headsets.

      Either the headset is see-through and it can place digital object in the virtual space you see, or the device is not see-through and can only show you digital object, but because of its tracking it can recreate the object in your real world in your virtual world. If you sit on a desk with a VR-headset, you might not see the desk, but the VR headset can recreate a digital desk that represents the real-world object. => MIXED REALITY

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Jeff Jones:

      I like the word Augmented better as well, but they needed to dumb the vocabulary down a bit for mainstreaming/marketing reasons. I liken it (kind of) to what Apple always does..."Springboard" instead of App Launcher/Drawer, "Facetime" instead of Video Call..."Retina" instead of High Resolution...

  6. mjw149

    Ultimately AR/VR converge like the Valve headset kind of does - namely, cameras attached to the headsets that can be used to render the real world on the VR headset, giving you both capabilities. ERGO MR, but I don't see whether any of these new cheap headsets can do that - and Valve only gives you outlines so far iirc. I really hope these work well and are affordable, I'm upgrading my PC soon.

  7. stephen888

    Asus’ Windows Mixed Reality headset looks like the most unique out of all the devices announced so far. Asus has added a polygonal 3D cover panel to the front, alongside six degrees of freedom tracking. Microsoft doesn’t mention whether Asus’ headset will be available later this year, so it’s possible it might not arrive until 2018.

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