HTC, Samsung and LG invest in the emerging VR headset market

  • AFP
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2015 11:05 IST

At MWC in Barcelona, the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC presented the Vive, its first virtual reality headset. Due to launch in late 2015, the new device will be one of just a handful of similar products available to consumers.

HTC teamed with video games specialist Valve to develop the Vive, a solution that promises a remarkable 360° immersive virtual reality (VR) experience, "letting you get up, walk around and explore your virtual space, inspect objects from every angle and truly interact with your surroundings," according to a press release. The headset achieves this namely through two HD screens, one in front of each eye, with 1200x1080 pixels each and a 90fps refresh rate.

The entire solution is based on Valve's Steam VR technology, which HTC hopes will allow users to travel, attend sports events or even shop without leaving home. To this end, the manufacturer has already announced partnerships with Google, HBO and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.

A developer edition is due out this spring, but consumers will have to wait until the end-of-year holidays to get their hands on the Vive.

A VR headset and its dedicated smartphone

Also in Barcelona, Samsung revealed a headset designed specifically for use with its new Galaxy S6 smartphone and its curved-screen equivalent, the S6 Edge. The new model joins the Gear VR, Samsung's headset designed exclusively for its Galaxy Note 4, which is already available in the US for $199.

Along the same lines, Samsung's rival LG presented the VR for G3 last month. Naturally, the headset is compatible with the South Korean manufacturer's G3 high-end smartphone.

Other manufacturers have also attempted to enter the burgeoning VR headset space, including the French company Archos, which sells its VR Glasses -- compatible with any Android, iOS or Windows Phone smartphone measuring less than 6 inches -- for the unbeatable price of €29.99.

The company with the most riding on this technology is still Oculus VR, the Facebook-owned start-up that collaborated with Samsung on the Galaxy Gear VR. Since 2012, the brand has developed several prototypes and has even mentioned a potential dedicated apps platform, which could launch just ahead of its first market-ready VR headset. The highly anticipated device is due to launch before the end of 2015.

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