HTC today unveiled a new design for Cosmos, the company’s upcoming inside-out tracked PC VR headset slated for release in Q3 2019.

HTC posted the unveiling in a video on the Vive Facebook page, mentioning the headset’s codename ‘D120165′. HTC further says they’ll be releasing specs on Cosmos next week.

We’ve seen non-working units before at Cosmos’ unveiling at CES 2019 in January, and at least visually we can tell a few things have changed in the new design.

 

Firstly, the headset now seems to sport six camera sensors instead of the previously shown four, something that ought to give it a wider field of view for optically tracking the system’s motion controllers.

The headset also features a faceplate that it both removable and perforated (ostensibly for ventilation). Interestingly enough, both up and downward-facing sensors are housed on the faceplate itself, which could point to the possibility of swappable modules.

Image courtesy HTC

While we don’t know exactly when the Vive Cosmos is set to launch (stated for Q3 2019), and at what price, it’s strange to see a redesign announced this late in the game. HTC announced earlier this month that dev kits are on the way, so it’s unclear if this or the previous design will make it into developers’ hands. It’s also already been cleared by the FCC, although these particular spec changes wouldn’t necessarily have been reflected in the FCC documentation itself.

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HTC Strikes Down Vive Cosmos Price Rumor, Confirming Sub-$900 Price Point

We’re still waiting on some basic info about the company’s upcoming PC VR headset like resolution, field of view, weight, tracking details, and price. The company has also teased that it will be able to plug into a smartphone, but has yet to offer any details. Hopefully we’ll learn all of this when HTC makes their spec reveal next week.

You can watch the full two-minute video of the unveiling if you’re really into watching a headset slowly turn on a Lazy Susan.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Xron

    Looks like companies are doing right steps to make tracking more stable.
    Lets hope that next gen. hmd will be wire free and still has great tracking. (Without any add ons ofc.)

    • GunnyNinja

      I hope “wire free” is optional. I really don’t want to deal with batteries all of the time. Cables don’t bother me, I’m in a sim most of the time.

      • All current “wire free” headsets let you use them while they are charging. I would hope that does not change. I like the idea of a headset that uses a Virtual Link port that can be used on PCs, smart phones, or other devices. This is one feature that the Quest lacks that I hope future headsets adapt. Instead of wireless versus wired why not build both into one device?

        • GunnyNinja

          I just said that. Optional. Wearing a headset while charging may turn out to be a bad day if the battery explodes.

        • Nathan Casey

          Pretty sure Oculus could have implemented this with the Quest but they’re greedy.

  • johann jensson

    Could the increased front ventilation point to the use of 2k screens for each eye? After all it’s pretty well covered in many forums now that the current HP Reverb screens seem to have thermal problems that results in low frequency flickering (0.5 – 1.5 Hz).

  • Charles

    Really hope this is OLED. The LCD screens on the other new HMDs have immersion-breaking grey black levels and bad contrast.

    • Adrian Meredith

      yes but oled has immersion breaking screen door effect and black smear

      • Charles

        There are degrees of immersion-breaking. I was convinced resolution and SDE were more important than contrast and black levels, but after owning a Reverb and a Pimax 5K+ (and a Vive Pro) I’m come to the conclusion than OLED is more important. With LCD, dark scenes look fake, and bright colors look dull and boring. It often feels much more like looking at a screen than being in a place.

        • Bob

          Very good point.

          The good news is that Samsung are actively working on their next VR device and as we all know they’re the OLED masters for small form factor devices!

          • Charles

            Have you heard any news about what Samsung is developing next? I don’t remember seeing anything about it.

          • Bob

            There was a topic about this on the internet recently but I cannot remember which website it was. The website was discussing some patents put through by Samsung in regards to a curved OLED display and other technologies related to VR.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        uhh, sorry, but screen door hasn’t broken immersion for me at all, yes you see it the first time you put on the headset, but once your in the game it doesn’t bother me at all (yes ofcourse no screendoor would be better, but at the moment the technology just isn’t there yet to be able to do that within a consumer budget).. Also SDE is not OLED specific…

        • JustNiz

          As a Vive owner that upgraded to Pimax, there’s no freaking way I could go back to the SDE of the Vive now.

  • Michael Slesinski

    funny how after all the shit that was talked about how “AWFUL” MMR headsets inside out tracking was THIS is the direction they are going..

    • Rosko

      MMR inside out tracking only has 2 cameras.

      • Destruktor Tarantula

        It’s WMR. Windows Mixed Reality. If we’re gonna trash WMR, which it deserves for how funky the tracking and comfort/sound options almost all the headsets have, Lets get the target right.

        To Be fair, they still managed to be able to have a 1440p headset that will work with a laptop for portable use as opposed to the Rift S, which Oculus left critical design decisions to Lenovo.

        • James Cobalt

          And as shitty as WMR tracking is, I find it to be about on par with my Quest’s tracking overall. Each has its own shortcomings (volume vs accuracy) that are very title dependent. And the Odyssey display is still one of the best on the market and sound on Odyssey ain’t bad either; and obviously leaps beyond the new Oculus offerings.

          • Destruktor Tarantula

            I’m obviously not a huge fan of WMR, but the Odyssey+ was a steal when it was on sale and works very well for Sims. So there’s that.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, that’s ofcourse because inside out tracking is the best way in the end, no hassle with having to setup outside devices..

  • sfmike

    Not wowed at this point.

  • Rowdy123

    On of the most slow-rolled product launches ever. I am guessing it will be a long wait for something relatively middle of the road.

  • Destruktor Tarantula

    Oculus has looked rather foolish with the lackluster Rift S, but the Quest is doing well, we have yet to see what the Valve Index is going to do once in consumer hands, while HTC is poised to simply fall into obscurity. Unless the Cosmos is priced competitively with the Rift S, they’re going to fail. Hard.

    • Rowdy123

      Seems to me HTC’s “we are going to service enterprise” is really just “we are not as good anymore and too expensive’. Isn’t it just a refuge to run after hitting a downward consumer spiral? I mean the Quest is a zillion times better than the Focus – so now HTC says Focus is “intended for enterpise”. Seems like running from a fight. I may be wrong.

      • Destruktor Tarantula

        Obviously HTC screwed up when they rolled out the Vive Pro in pricing, they paid for it in lost sales and Facebook started stomping them. Now Valve is no longer considering them a official hardware partner. I wouldn’t say they’re running, but delaying the Cosmos for this long and then not pricing it aggressively enough to compete with either Valve or Oculus looks like they have no idea where to go at this point.

        • Immersive_Computing

          I went to a location based entertainment venue two weeks ago, they had 48 Vive Pro+backpack PC in total across four different areas for groups of 12.

          I’m more often than not using a Vive Pro at different LBE and marketing/demo events, HTC are dominating this area at the moment.

    • Trenix

      If Cosmos will have better specs than the Rift S, why shouldn’t it cost more?

      • Destruktor Tarantula

        Cost Breakdown component-wise for the Rift S is substantially lower now. The Cosmos is obviously an answer to the S (and with it being possibly powered by a mobile phone) and the Quest. But without the mobile SOC aspect, I expect them to be priced competitively or close to the Rift S and the Quest and discontinue the Original Vive.

        • Trenix

          Why would they discontinue the original Vive? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Vive has already confirmed that they’re not trying to compete or replace their original Vive. Facebook is moronic for replacing the original Oculus. Take a look at the Coca Cola Company as an example of why you shouldn’t flat-out replace a product that wasn’t even an upgrade.

          • Destruktor Tarantula

            I expect them to discontinue the original Vive at some point, but not immediately. I’m simply speculating on what they might do, I have no inside knowledge and don’t claim to have any either.

            Unlike Oculus’s bandwidth-costly usb camera-based constellation tracking for the CV1, Valve’s Lighthouse system is a lot more friendly to implement. Oculus screwed up in with replacing the CV1 with the Rift S by only Solving two issues, Resolution and the Usb bandwidth, but created more removing premium features (sound, comfort, superior tracking, build quality) in the process.

            The Rift S is only an upgrade in resolution and ease of setup, its a downgrade everywhere else. The Quest IS more or less what the Rift S should have been.

            I kept my Rift, bought a Quest, and will buy an Index (as I did not get a pre-order in time and was only able to reserve a slot) But i’ll keep an eye on the Cosmos. We know every little about it at the moment spec-wise and how it performs.

  • Skippy76

    I know I have lost hope for HTC.
    I have the original Vive which was amazing but my money will be going to Valve for my upgrade. I dont expect to ever support Facebook’s oculus junk..

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  • Jistuce

    Well, I think it is clear why they haven’t been forthcoming with details about Cosmos since the initial announcement, if the hardware is actually still in development at this point.

    • Bob

      Which is not good news for hardware testing. Expect a myriad of issues at launch with tracking.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Why would there be problems with tracking? that could have been tested separatly from the rest of the headset, and at the moment it’s still not clear when the headset actually launches..

        • Jistuce

          Because they are apparently still adjusting the hardware. Hard to polish and tune your tracking when you still don’t even know HOW your tracking system works.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            What makes you think they don’t even know how their tracking system works, they already have much experience with it through the Focus (or have you forgotten about that headset).

          • Jistuce

            Perhaps I could’ve been more specific when I said that. They do know, in an intellectual sense, how optical device tracking works as a general case. But camera quantity and location needs to be known before you start
            setting up a specific implementation. You don’t just throw a bunch of cameras out there and the software “just figures it out”. So they don’t actually know how the Cosmos’ specific implementation works, because they are still changing it around. And that is concerning for a product that is strongly implied to be nearly ready to ship.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Inside out tracking isn’t that hard really, it all comes down to imageprocessing. the more camera’s the higher the quality of the tracking can be, but more camera’s also means more processing, so that’s more the problem. (ofcourse I simplified the actual process, but in basic it’s just really that).
            But it’s still a few months off before actual release.

  • mfx

    They need to hire designers clearly.
    Also, They might be delaying because they struggle with their tracking system.
    I hope the res / FOV are the best of the best for this cosmos, because it will have the same fate than their phones if they continue this way and they don’t shine with the specs at least.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I think it’s more like they’ll be delaying it due to the display problems which HP is having with their Reverb displays (which are rumored to be the same the Cosmos is using). I don’t see why they would have problems with their tracking system, inside out with the latest incarnations have been proven to be pretty solid (maybe not as solid in all cases as Lighthouse or Constellation, but those aren’t 100% perfect either).

  • Trenix

    I don’t get why people so upset. A headset that has inferior tracking than it’s original, but you can connect it to your computer AND your smartphone? I mean if the Rift S had that simple feature, I’d more be incline to buy it. How you going to drop the fresh rate, cripple tracking, but not allow me to connect it to a smartphone?

    This is a pretty big deal breaker.

    • JustNiz

      Why would I ever want to connect it to my smartphone?

      • Trenix

        For mobility and to future proof it? Everyone is so hyped with the Oculus Quest, but it’s processor is already three years old technology and it cannot be connected to the computer. Think about the convenience of being able to use your computer or phone whenever you want to go into VR. Sure the computer experience will always be better, but it’s nice to have options. I took the Gear VR on a vacation, was nice being able to play some VR games at the hotel after walking around all day.

        • JustNiz

          Maybe I’ll rethink when you can play in-depth, detailed games like Elite:Dangerous or Fallout4VR on a phone, and WMR-like tracking doesn’t suck.

          • Trenix

            You’re asking for too much. I bet you played mobile games before and probably sometimes still do. You’re not going to have a desktop computer in your headset, but being able to run a VR headset from a smartphone and a computer is the next best thing.

  • The Bard

    fat cable….. wtf is virtualink usb-c for on my geforce 2080 rtx????!!!

  • Tharny

    Where did the top and bottom camera go when the front shield is off?

  • Henrik ‘Walter’ Peytz

    Wait wait wait…inside-out tracking AND cable? I can understand inside-out on a device such as the Quest, but willingly using inside-out on a cabled HMD instead of superior lighthouse tracking is bonkers.

  • Grotten Olm

    Congratulations! Easily one of the most laughable vr product presentations ever.