Virtual reality is showing no signs of slowing down in 2017. In fact, if Microsoft has its way, everyone one will be using a relatively inexpensive headset to explore virtual and augmented worlds in Windows 10's Holographic environment. Lenovo gave me a first glimpse of VR's future with the tentatively-named Lenovo VR headset.
Set to launch sometime in mid-2017, Lenovo is hoping to sell its Windows 10-powered device at a price between $300 and $400.
We saw only a non-working prototype, but we could tell several things from the design:
- The head-mounted display features a pair of depth-sensing VGA cameras capable of room-scaling, eliminating the need for any additional sensors as you have with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
- A hinge built into the band allows people who wear glasses to easily and comfortably position the headset.
- The back of the band sports a size-adjustment dial similar to the one on the PlayStation VR.
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Why You Should Care:
- If Lenovo can hit the target pricing, this will be one of the least expensive quality virtual reality headsets on the market.
- Set to work with Microsoft Holographic, the headset will provide access to email, shopping hubs, social media and entertainment channels and VR. Imagine sitting on your couch and seeing web browsers, email inboxes and movies showing on your living room walls.
- The pair of external cameras will track objects in the room in real-time for mixed reality experiences.
- The headset is designed to work with mainstream laptops that have integrated graphics.
- Lenovo's headset will run Oculus and Vive software, if it is Microsoft Holographic compatible.
- The headset is about half the weight of the HTC Vive, which should allow for a more comfortable experience.
- Because Microsoft is targeting mainstream computers with its VR/AR headsets, it stands to reason that they're going to use USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 instead of HDMI and DisplayPort, ports that most mainstream systems lack.
Although Lenovo's headset is still a prototype, Microsoft and its partners are on the verge of pushing virtual and augmented reality far beyond what we've seen from Oculus and HTC. By making the devices more affordable and lowering the system requirements, Microsoft and Lenovo will give a lot more people access to VR experiences.