This week at CES 2019 Qualcomm is showing off a new VR reference headset sporting impressive new displays that may well define the next wave of VR headsets.

Qualcomm has been a somewhat silent enabler of most of the recent and upcoming standalone VR headsets, not only because it makes the Snapdragon chip that’s central to many of these devices, but also because of its ‘HMD Accelerator’ program which helps companies rapidly bring VR headsets to market by supplying reference designs and pairing companies with partner solutions and capable manufacturers.

Qualcomm’s reference designs act as a jumping-off point for companies to craft a headset to their needs, which could be as simple as slapping a logo on the side, or as extensive as new industrial design, customization of key components, or adding entirely new tech that’s not part of the original reference design. In many cases though, the essential foundation of the reference design can be felt in the end product.

Qualcomm and HTC have worked closely together in the past on Focus, HTC’s first standalone headset, which bore many of the hallmark features found in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 reference headset. Lenovo’s Mirage Solo and a handful of other headsets also share a lineage with one of Qualcomm’s reference designs.

That’s a long way to say this: looking at Qualcomm’s latest reference headsets is a good way to get a preview of devices that are on their way to market.

Photo by Road to VR

At CES 2019 this week we met with Qualcomm who was demonstrating what they called a new reference headset that (surprise surprise) had a detachable tether to a smartphone—the feature that HTC massively teased this week with Cosmos, but wasn’t ready to talk about. The USB-C connector on the Qualcomm reference headset could also easily be plugged into a PC, just like HTC says Cosmos will be able to do.

Note: While Qualcomm called the headset a reference design, it appeared to be a newer, unannounced prototype of Acer’s OJO headset, though we gather this is also based on Qualcomm’s latest reference design for smartphone-tetherable headsets designed for Snapdragon 855 devices. For ease of discussion, I’m going to stick to calling this the ‘Qualcomm reference headset’ for now, because the company wasn’t sharing details about how Acer/Quanta were involved.

The similarities don’t stop there. The Qualcomm reference headset also has a flip-up hinge (just like Cosmos), and detachable headphones (just like Cosmos) that looked very similar to those found on the Vive Deluxe Audio strap.

With these similarities, and HTC’s history of working with Qualcomm, the reference headset is almost certainly forms the basis of Vive Cosmos, which gives us a number of big hints about what Cosmos and other near-term headsets could look like.

Which brings us to the display. HTC has said almost nothing about the Cosmos display except that it’s their “sharpest screen yet,” and that the new displays are “real RGB displays” with “minimal screen door effect.”

That’s exactly what I saw in the Qualcomm reference headset, which had a very impressive pair of displays which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. These new displays are LCD and running up to 90Hz with a resolution of 2,160 × 2,160 per-eye, a huge step up in pixels (2x!) over leading displays in headsets like the Vive Pro at ‎1,440 x 1,600 (even before talking about subpixels).

Additionally, these new displays appear to be RGB and have excellent fill-factor, offering the least screen door effect—and sharpest image—I’ve seen in a headset using any display of this type. The field of view on the Qualcomm reference headset looked a little tighter than similar headsets though, likely around 85 degrees, which would have slightly exaggerated the sharpness and minimal screen door. Even so, if these displays can support ~100 degrees like many other headsets, they’d still have a big edge in sharpness and minimal screen door.

Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

It’s not clear if Cosmos will in fact use this 2,160 × 2,160 display. HTC could opt for another display, but if Cosmos will have their “sharpest screen yet,” then it can’t be the Vive Pro display—and if it’s not this new display, then we’re not sure which it would be because there’s no VR displays in any existing or upcoming headsets (to our knowledge) that fall between those two resolutions.

The Qualcomm reference headset also clues us in to what the smartphone tethering function is likely to look like on Cosmos, and the device that would power it.

Photo by Road to VR

The Qualcomm reference headset was plugged into a Qualcomm MTP-8150 (an early hardware test kit) based on Snapdragon 855 with 5G hardware built in. The device was powering the headset, rendering the content, and handling the processing necessary for the optical 6DOF tracking. Qualcomm had a local 5G network set up which was streaming volumetric video content from NextVR (which looked really impressive on the high res display) as a 5G proof of concept.

The MTP-8150 is like a reference device for a smartphone, except before all the hardware has been compacted into a sleek form-factor. Phone makers use MTPs to test hardware while designing news phones.

So for Cosmos, the play ahead of HTC very much seems like the company plans to launch a new phone—probably built on Snapdragon 855 and including 5G—that will be compatible with Vive Cosmos. That would explain why HTC wasn’t ready to talk about the headset’s smartphone compatibility—because they’ve yet to announce the phone that will power it.

HTC says they’ll have more to say about Cosmos later this year—pay attention when they gear up to launch their next phone, because that’ll probably be when we start to hear specifics on Cosmos.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • cataflic

    I think that the form factor of the screen is actually important.
    A 1:1 screen means smaller fov or minor overlapping…better some 3.840X2160
    Come on… only one step forward..

  • dk

    I’m digging the virtuallink connection

  • dk

    hmm 2,160 × 2,160 per-eye this really needs foveated rendering ….in mobile mode it will definitely be less than 90hz and if nothing else fixed foveated rendering

    • lenne 0816

      Mobile Chips do tile based rendering natively, so fixed foveated rendering is pretty much built in.

  • Tom Szaw

    No 160-210 FOV, no sense to buy. Resolution is not everything.

    • dk

      unless the sweet spot/binocular overlap of a 180 fov headset is as clear as this thing …180fov is sort of worthless …if u prefer that sure buy that

    • HomeAudio

      Exactly! I have Oculus Rift CV1 and now I am looking for some standalone headset (maybe Oculus Quest) as a complementary device to my CV1. If I will want to change CV1 to something different – than for sure it will be something with wide FOV (NOT with higher resolution and the same FOV – it doesnt have sense for me!)

    • rabs

      Well, that’s the specs I was hoping for an upgrade. And I’m far from being the only one that would prioritize resolution over FOV.

      Wider FOV will come next with foveated rendering. For now it looks like a waste of resources.

      • HomeAudio

        I don’t fully understand what for you need higher resolution now? Do you read so much in VR? For me resolution in CV1 is comfortable for 90% of content…

    • NooYawker

      Future VR needs it all. FOV, resolution, eye tracking, fps.

  • kontis

    ALL these new ~2K LCDs for VR are significantly smaller than screens in Vive and Rift, so I’m not surprised that the FOV is narrower.

    It seems that those delusional oldschool HMD guys responsible for 2 decades of 30 deg FOV “VR” ar at their BS again. They think that clarity is all that matters and for them FOV wider than TV is “huge”. Great. This is why a kid in a garage kicked their asses, but it looks like they learned nothing.

    • brandon9271

      The good news is, other manufacturers don’t have to follow these reference designs. I still have faith in Valve coming out with something to push the needle

    • G-man

      they were wrong n that it has 100-110 like every other headset.

  • kontis

    All those people at /r/oculus and /r/vive who for years repeated that made up story about the availability of HMDs’ physical resolutions being directly dependent on the power of PC’s GPUs now have their lesson.

    • brandon9271

      Yeah, that’s like saying 4k TVs can’t be made because there’s a shortage of 4k Blu-ray players. It doesn’t make any sense. Oculus was just feeding us a line of BS. I can watch 1080p content on my 4k TV just fine AND it’s somewhat future proof. VR is no different.

    • I think this is still the case, but hardware based upscaling to reduce SDE is still a valid reason to use higher resolution panel which actually have not been available in quantity until 2018.

    • G-man

      now, three years later. when we have mobile phones socs that can do 4k 60fps…. sure

      its not just that resolution capabilities have increased a lot since the first headset…. definitely not that.

  • Bob

    So it seems HTC Cosmos is clearly not aimed at average Joe and Sally because to benefit from the device you need either a decent PC capable of gaming or you spend another 600 – 800 on a new HTC or other phone that will use 5G and come with Snapdragon 855. It’s a device for enthusiasts.

    It pains me to say it but Oculus still has the upper hand when it comes to “mainstream” accessible VR. The HTC Cosmos doesn’t really change anything about HTC’s business agenda or they’re getting it severely wrong.

    • motowntom

      Wrong, that would be WMR headsets, to bad no one markets them properly.

      • silvaring

        Nah they’re doing just fine. Don’t believe all the Oculus bots / shilling you see online it’s all smoke and mirrors.

    • Doesn’t pain me and it seems a lot of this has to do with Facebook acquisition allowing the CV to come down to a permanent price of $350, an all-in-one mobile HMD for $199 and a mobile 6DOF HMD/Controller for $399 in March. While HTC solutions are $300-$1000 more and either available only to Enterprise or Developers (Focus) in the US, or no working model and projected release date (Cosmos).

  • theonlyrealconan

    Glad i got the odessey plus for 299. It will hold me over until: much better lenses, wider fov, better controllers, and improved screen door and/or rez.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      lucky bastard ;)

  • Justin Davis

    Very interesting.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Wow, 2.160 × 2.160 per-eye 90Hz LCD displays… Now you’re talking. If Cosmos really has them, I’ll jump on it in a heartbeat. Watching unscaled 1920×1080 movies will finally be possible. So will reading gauges in flight sims.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      I’m guessing that if it’s a 2160×2160 90Hz display that can be powered by a smartphone, then it probably has a built-in upscaler

      • Mike

        Or it will only be able to run games with outdated graphics. Which is fine if the VR quality is that good.

        • Or as Rudi mentioned, for movies this would be perfect. I won’t jump on it if is more than $400 though.

          • G-man

            if, this is htc, thats a pretty big if. it’s likely to be over double that.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      yeah, but for now it seems you have to give up a hefty degree in FOV..

      • G-man

        they got the fov wrong, it’s 100/110

    • Muzufuzo

      It needs well-done foveated rendering. That’s the only way Snapdragon 855 SoC could actually run half-decent graphics in 2160x2160x2. Without FR it’s pointless for mobile, makes sense for PC.

      • G-man

        mobile gpus have been able to do multi resolution rendering for ages now.

  • Well this “reference” could use some improvements, this is the future of VR.

    It’ll all be USB-C, plugging into smartphones, consoles, and PC’s. They’ll all be inside-out tracking, and might even have a universal standard for bluetooth hand controls (hopefully). This low-cost 6DOF standard will be what finally drives VR to the masses.

    For at least the next 5 to 10 years, Steam VR will be the #1 VR software provider on the PC side, and Google Play for smartphones. Oculus will phase out their store over time, as it looses ground to Steam, and Oculus and VIVE brands will melt into a sea of other VR HMD companies. Like Microsoft, Steam is going to be the big winner in the end. (Invest now!)

    This leaves the big question, when will Eye Tracking become standard? PC GPU makers aren’t keen on FOV rendering, as it’s lack of existence drives more expensive GPU sales, but on the mobile side FOV rendering is not minor, but absolutely CRITICAL. Right now it’s treated as a minor niche in VR, but soon it’ll have to become mandatory for mobile VR. Demand for faster rendering will require it.

    The other hurdle will be getting over the move from the screen to the headset. People forget we initially struggled with a user-controlled camera in Mario 64. The original DOOM caused motion sickness. People say they don’t like VR because of motion sickness, but they’ll bend and acclimate once the lower prices and good games draw them in.

    Oculus lost traction when they released the CV1 at $800. It should have been $300. They got to $300 later on but it was too late by then. I’d say the next VR hype bubble will form in 3 to 5 years time. Headsets like these will be around $200 or less, developers will be well prepared with games, and demand will just EXPLODE!

    • Kevin White

      How does one invest in Steam?

      • Cute, apparently they are not publicly traded. I wonder just how rich can Gabe Newell get?

        Actually I’ve been thinking about it more, and this might not effect Steam in any huge way, as it’s already the top place to get PC games from. Can’t get higher then top-dog. But there is one set of companies who REALLY stand to profit, and those are the Cloud-Gaming companies. They could turn one of those $200 headsets into a hardcore VR setup for a nominal monthly charge.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      I don’t see the Oculus store dying since it’s going to be the only store available to the Quest

      • I’ve been very interested in the Quest as well… but… really now I’m thinking it’s time is going to be rather short. Maybe just the first half of 2019.

        This spec, once adopted, is going to produce a lower cost item with more flexibility. You can hook up a PC to it (Quest won’t) or you could use a smartphone to power it. If it’s got build-in 5Ghz wifi, stream a Cloud-Gaming service to it.

        The Quest will support these as well, but it’s a US company using Chinese manufacturers to make something, verses the Chinese manufacturers just making it themselves. These Qualcomm sets will be cheaper, there’s no way they won’t. They’ll have access to wider software markets and could have a whole variety of niche features. More manufacturers, more possibilities. And being Chinese, they’ll get you those new headsets super-quick. There’s no back-and-forth time spent trying to communicate needs between two companies.

        I’m impatient and not smart with my money. I will probably get a Quest, as long as price isn’t too crazy high. But all signs point to a dozen Chinese companies, using this spec, burying the Quest in the long-run.

        • FireAndTheVoid

          I wouldn’t discount the Quest. Oculus (Facebook) has been selling the Rift at cost, meaning that they don’t make any money by selling the hardware. They make their money by bringing you into the Oculus Store ecosystem. So, their hardware prices will likely undercut all of the competition. Also, I would expect the Quest to be very refined whereas you can’t count on that from the Chinese products. The biggest drawback for me is losing my SteamVR library. So, I probably won’t be getting one.

          • Well, fun part with the Qualcomm headsets is that you *won’t* lose access to your Steam libary. It’ll hook up to a PC. And you’ll gain Google Play Store access as well, so that’s two markets right off the back, both of which are less restrictive.

            But about Oculus selling the Rift at cost…. I don’t think they do. I believe their cost is under $300, as they have occasionally had sales that low. They make a profit off their gear. Really, they *SHOULD* have sold for cost, especially if they are pushing their own eco-system. But having to support Steam means that eco-system has a huge hole in it, and I doubt they have any desire to give money to Valve. So I think they’ve always profited from the Rift, with the exception of some Black-Friday deals.

            Here’s an article on the cost of making a Rift…

          • Tommy Meliet

            haha you can always tell Vive owners like this guy because they keep saying Oculus will “fade away” as Oculus continues to gain ground and smack the shit out of HTC.

            Sorry you spent twice as much on the same shit with worse controllers.

          • You skimmed my post and failed to understand what I said. Read it again. If you wish to reply, please use punctuation and proper grammar. Also, try to cap your rudeness and attempt to add something useful to the discussion. Such a post reflects poorly on you.

            FYI, I currently use an Oculus as my regular VR headset.

    • NooYawker

      Valve is a private company so, can’t invest now. If Valve was a public company we’d be talking about Half Life 10.

    • bmichaelb

      I have a Rift with 4 sensors, 1 in each corner on 7′ tall stands, so I already know what full tracking can do. I don’t see them ‘all’ going to inside-out tracking. It’s too limited. To me, it would be a downgrade. Hold your controllers above your head like you’re hanging from a beam, then look down at the enemies…or just to look around at the scenery…and your controllers will glitch out. Even with the side cameras of the new Vive Cosmos…if the controllers are close to the side of the head, like when doing archery or holding a rifle, then it’s going to have issues. Hold the controllers down at your sides…it’s going to have issues. They could do standalone and still use Valve’s lighthouses and tracking system, as they communicate with the headset wirelessly through bluetooth already. No need for a pc. They’re easy enough to set up, and you can use battery packs if you want them portable. Also, they told us in the beginning they were working on full-body tracking…you can’t do that with inside-out cameras. Want to use your feet in a soccer game? You need full body tracking. It would also work for VR hockey as the goalie…kick save. And seeing people dance in VR with Vive trackers on their feet is pretty cool.

      As for the universal controllers…basically there’s only Oculus’ system and Valve’s system. There’s also Windows MR’s system…but they can use Valve’s system if you have a Vive headset to communicate with the controllers, and a few extra programs. Vive, Pimax, StarVR, etc, all use Valve’s system, so the same controllers should work for all of them.

      As for the eye tracking and foveated rendering, Vive just announced 2 new headsets on Monday, 1 of them being the Vive Pro Eye…eye tracking with foveated rendering, using the new Nvidia RTX cards, that now come with ‘Variable Rate Shading’ to handle the foveated rendering. It uses Nvidia’s VRWorks. AMD won’t do it. Pimax also said they were going to have eye tracking units, and StarVR showcased a headset recently that had the trackers as well. The only ones without it now…are Oculus. And Windows MR. Oculus said it wold take them a few more years, but I think they were working on their own software to do it. But now that Vive’s using Nvidia’s VRWorks to do it, maybe they’ll rethink their approach…fast. I’d still rather have a Rift over a Vive, mainly because of customer service, and the fact the Vive’s design is flawed in a way that they’re susceptible to moisture damage…death by sweat. They used to cover it, but pulled it from their warranty after all the RMA’s. Rift has never died from sweat.

      As for Oculus releasing the CV1 at $800…the CV1 was only $599 USD. It was the Vive that released at $800 USD.

    • G-man

      nvidia just announce the turing core gpus can perform foveated rendering, like the new rtx 2060 they announced. its likely old gpus wont just be able to do foveated rendering efficiently enough for it to actualy save any gpu workload. the gpu needs to be designed to do it so actualy foveated rendering will sell mor enew gpus.

      • See, that’s the rub, they *could* support it, if they really wanted to. But it’s all about selling more GPU’s.

        Here’s an article about how nVidia demonstrated the power of Foveated Rendering using 980 GPU’s, published on this very website, in 2016:

        • G-man

          they showed how it would work, they never said it ran more efficiently to do that or that those gpus could do 90fps and have the frames be sent to the display on time. the fact those gpus dont do multi resolution rendering. the fact they have to do a post processing blur after that, those gpus arent designed to do that efficiently or quickly so doing foveated rendering on them is not more efficient than just rendering at full resolution. the new gpus have cores that were designed with being able to do all this efficiently. you cant just take an old gpu and make it do new processes. like how physx was its own standa lone pic e card you had to buy at firs,t then gpus came with physx capable cores built in. doesnt mean you could take any old gpu from before physx and make it do physx.

    • namekuseijin

      > People forget we initially struggled with a user-controlled camera in Mario 64. The original DOOM caused motion sickness.

      been there, done that. indeed, actually it was the original Wolfenstein 3D for me: in 10 minutes I was about to throw up. And yes, controlling the camera and managing touch to handle the novelty of analogs was a huge change back in PS1 and N64 days.

      I don’t think people forget, I think kids these days are completely unaware of it. Then again, some lucky kids are pretty much all day long in a headset in Rec Room. There won’t be as many as there are kids who grew on minecraft or angry birds, but still they’re there and will take VR for granted…

      • James Cobalt

        And I’d add, the original DOOM engine (with it’s weird pseudo-3D rendering and awkward FOV) still causes motion sickness, and people still struggle with the Mario 64 camera (as it’s partially user controlled but partly on rails – much more so than the game cameras that followed it).

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Jesus Christ is mankinds sole hope.He saved my life and soul and is my Lord and Savior.

    • sfmike

      And we regret it every day.

    • motowntom

      Jesus sucks balls……..

    • brubble

      …for those of weak constitution.

  • Great find and it seems my guess that the Cosmos was based on Qualcomm reference design is correct. It also explains why it appears there isn’t a working model, since it appeared to be a non-working production prototype from HTC Vive.

    It also shows why the Snapdragon 845 Reference kit was never released, or at least I could never get one. Also knowing what the Vive Focus cost, which is based on the Qualcomm 835 reference design. Tells me the Cosmos will not be less than $400. Which will be a non-starter over MS WMRs or the Oculus Quest,when they come out with a compatible smartphone.

    One other point of interest: I noticed the Qualcomm reference design does not have cameras on the side making this look more like a WMR, including the canted camera angle on the two front facing cameras.

    • brandon9271

      I own a Rift CV1 and Samsung Odyssey. I really like the Odyssey best for ease of setup, better optics and high resolution. However, the tracking isn’t quite there and that’s because it lacks cameras on the sides. Even if the side camera are cheaper than the ones in the front and don’t refresh as fast it’d be better than nothing. My next VR HMD purchase will either use this multi camera inside out tracking or Lighthouse. Not buying another WMR style device.

      • Agreed if your needs require active full arm movement, but many things do not so the WMRs are great for portability and frankly my CV1 has the same problem when using only two cameras in front of you. Actually it is worse. Also, the WMR cameras are already pretty low, I think only 720P, but adequate for stereo parallax localization, and as I mentioned elsewhere, the WMRs do nothing onboard to create fused positional data. Hence the necessity of USB-3 and why you have not seen a wireless solution. If my hunch is right about the Cosmos based of the Snapdragon 845 reference design with built fusion integration chip, this would greatly reduce bandwidth requirements and allow for four camera integration since each camera would be fed in via MIPI channels to the chip along with i2C based IMU data to provide and integrated point cloud and localization. This may also account for excessive cooling requirements as well to ensure a stabilized environment to reduce thermal noise and RF noise if encapsulated in copper which plagued earlier smartphones, contributing to drift and erratic localization (much more stable in the latest generations of iOS and Android phones running ARKit and ARCore)

      • Candy Cab

        Same experience here, I have a CV1 and an Odyssey and I knew the WMR tracking would be poor vs the Rift but I was surprised at just how bad it really is. That said I bought the Odyssey mainly for sim racing so its not a real issue but, there is no way I could ever recommend any WMR HMD with the current state of their tracking implementation.

  • Glad I am not an asshole.

    In fact the only reason you don’t see more of these, is what you can actually pack in the “belt pack.” Magic Leap’s needs to sell their belt pack separately since the NVIDIA TX2 is as close to a lowend discrete graphics platform that can get that could run either Android or Windows (ARM). However, something tells me hell will need to get a lot colder.

    Lately I have been testing a custom version of the Hades Canyon that can be worn on your belt. If there is interest, I can push to make it a Kickstarter, but currently it is more expensive than a high end smartphone :)

    • brandon9271

      Well, it’s not like we need Magic Leap for this. I’m sure Nvidia would gladly sell as many Tegra powered belt packs as you could want. Nintendo Switch, Shield TV, TX2 dev kits.. The Tegra platform is ripe and ready :)

      • Have you asked NVIDIA? I didn’t mention we were working on a processor/battery pack based on the TX2 and NVIDIA really was not that eager to sell the chip in less than 10K quantity or in its Jetson based heatsink based module lower than $399 in quantities of 1K+. We were also told there was no plans for Android, which clearly was not true since both MagicLeap and GameFace are using Android builds. When I asked the project director of Tegra development after being told by him it would not be available. I received no response. Supposedly you will be able to buy new version of this module for $299 with 4GB in 1K quantity in June. However, there still will be no Android build (as of January). Since there is no reason to use the chip for Android if you have to write all the low level drivers or to use Ubuntu for ARM that they provide for the Jetson platform that isn’t compatible with any platform for VR, we chose not to pursue it.

        And yes I do have belt version of the Shield TV 2018 model with enclosed battery pack with a standard Android 8.2 kernel running with DreamGlass. :) Which you could do the same thing now with a number of Snapdragon 845 phones. And with the Snapdragon 85x this year, the TX2 is not worth extra cost, especially when Qualcomm has much better development environment for Android, and you could always make it compatible with Vive’s mobile platform.

        • brandon9271

          Wow.. that’s really unfortunate. I guess maybe Magic Leap and Nintendo have the Tegra stuff on lockdown and they don’t want to bother with the “little guys.” That’s a shame. You’d think they’d be more eager too help with Qualcomm poised to kick their asses. I guess mobile isn’t that important to them

          • That was my take too. Another tidbit when working with their Shield TV as a development platform before the TX2 was released, they were going release a TX1 based Shield Tablet and new Shield, which was the flip up display, mobile gaming platform. The TX1 Shield Tablet variant even had a FCC identifier. Of course we knew what happened, the Nintendo Switch came out. Also as I found when tearing down the original Shield TV, is the main board actually had SMT parts missing and after laborius efforts in comparing the board shape and design to the released and then pulled off the market quickly Gen 2 Shield developer kit, the main Shield TV board was meant to used in the gen 2 Shield. When I asked to buy the board separately since it also had spot for an IMU along with SMT for HDMI mini, 1/8 audio jack and micro SD slot, making it a perfect “pack based” mobile VR engine. The VP of Shield department said “no.”

            But then again the story could be quite different and there could have been third player in the VR camp since NVIDIA had also poured money into VR research as well. I guess the Nintendo Switch deal was too sweet to pass up. So yes, as NVIDIA stock declines and Qualcomm AMD, Intel and even Apple catch up in mobile GPU performance. All we are left with is the TX1 powered Nintendo Switch and a dual TX2 variant powering your self-driving car someday. Oh and the Magic Leap that just got its lunch eaten by Nreal and an ex (probably) disgruntled Magic Leap engineer and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor pack.

          • brandon9271

            The Switch is nice but I’d much prefer a new Shield. I think it’s sad how Nvidia basically shafted all the Shield portable users who were hoping for an upgrade. I own a Switch and it pretty much collects dust. I wish the hacked Switch could run Android

    • Proof XR Lab

      Your Hades Canyon a NUC? I have two NUC’s and love ’em!

  • oompah

    One area which needs improvements is the eye pieces.
    I think the fresnel lenses can be carved at much closer intervals with the latest tech. so small that the lines even disappear & make no or negligible interference. Eventually these lenses should be made to curve so that they wrap the eyes at near 180 deg fov

    • G-man

      if that was possible they would have done it.

      • Candy Cab

        Its not that they couldn’t be improved, its the cost of improving the lenses that will prohibit it from becoming a reality.

        • G-man

          Exactly, i wasn’t taking about breaking law physics

    • benz145

      Rift has very fine Fresnel ridges, but Oculus backtracked on that with Go and Quest where they are much more coarse. Perhaps going that fine isn’t worth other tradeoffs?

  • LizardYetithe3rd

    “The field of view on the Qualcomm reference headset looked a little tighter than similar headsets though, likely around 85 degrees, which would have slightly exaggerated the sharpness and minimal screen door.”


    • G-man

      they are mistaken, because the video they viewed on it was narrow fov. not the headset.

      • benz145

        Plausible, but how do you know?

        • G-man

          all the other reviews of it saying its got a 100-110 fov but that the video was narrow so it seemed lower fov…..

  • MosBen

    Well, not sure if I was one of the assholes, but I do remember commenting not that it wasn’t possible to have an HMD that worked with mobile and PC, but that it likely didn’t make financial sense to, say Oculus in making the Quest. And it’s likely either still the case, or the Quest was more or less feature locked before the implementation became feasible. There are lots of reasons that specific features don’t make it into products beyond just whether it’s possible and some number of people want it.

    • G-man

      its likely just not possible on the 835/845 soc, but is now possible on the 855. plus there wasnt the whole usb c based standard vr connector for pc to make it user friendly.

      • MosBen

        Yep, that sounds about right. So often around here people will just spout things like that the Vive Pro should be several hundred dollars less than it is, as if HTC wouldn’t love to make its products more appealing to more consumers if it were able to do so. Building an HMD that can be tethered or self-contained is a great feature if it adds absolutely nothing to the cost and brings no complications at all, but then, if it was cheap and easy to do, everyone would just do it.

        • G-man

          It is cheap and easy to do. The stabdard juat had to je agreed on and now any mobile soc made in future will be able to do it.

          And also the vive probis a rio off. They dint want to price it less because they can milk their position as the only ateam vr tracking headset maker and claim a slight resolution bump makes a product only for professionals and suddenly three times as expensive. The tracking tech in the pro is cheaper than version 1. There is nothing about the headset that makes it the price it is. Its a marketing strategy and nothing else.

  • It’s too bad they cancelled the Oculus Rift 2 and I admit I kinda feel for Brendan Iribe regarding his decisions for leaving Oculus at Facebook due to them dumping the Rift 2 Prototypes from being put into commercial production. It was rather impulsive and financially dumb on his part, granted they offered him a HUGE salary, then again I do get where he’s coming from though in regards to all that. They were solving the Vergence Accommodation Conflict along with a tangible / more realistic upgraded field of view from 110 to 145 degrees in their newest prototypes! Those things were game changers, but it seems that everyone’s hell bent on this arms race towards wireless, standalone, and now this clunky giant headset by Qualcomm! ((Sigh)) I mean even Valve Pro 2’s announcement with Eye Tracking at CES wasn’t all that special, granted they’re undoubtedly still using non vari-focaled displays which is a big waste to what Eye Tracking can be used for! Eye Tracking I trust won’t be viable until Micro Light Field Camera’s that can be crammed into these Headsets are made, which they should be here soon within the next 1-2 years, but without those depth cameras, it’s hard to track eyes at a level of tracking fidelity that’s required for either vari-focal displays, or foveated rendering. I think Oculus had it right, the best when they were working those prototypes for a possible Oculus Consumer Version 2! They adressed the most Critical Issues, whilst everyone else cares only to cramming in higher resolution, making it wireless, and other gimmicks that just make the experience worse!! Those technologies are 5-10 years behind their prime! Just look how Qualcomm’s Head Mounted Display looks! Like a large Brick! It’s not moving things forward in the sense of losing weight, making it more ergonomic and all those things that truly matter for bettering VR! It’s a joke that even the wireless adapters can’t keep up with the high demands of VR, and thus are trying to “Compress” images now, so folks will get this “Netflix” like Compressed video quality for Wireless VR devices!! That’s not improving anything, that’s a step back! Why not keep the focus on staying “wired” for now, because that offers a WAY better uncompressed VR image! Now it’s like when Disc Media died due to the conveince of Movie Streaming! HD Movie Discs had no compression, ultra high 40-60mbps bitrates compared to streaming’s crummy 6-10mbps max bitrates! A bluray disc had up to 50GB of raw video Data whereas streaming had a measly 1-4gb file sized HD video! It’s a MAJOR Lossy format, and the same will be with these Wireless Head Mounted VR Display Adapters! Everyone will be stuck with a lackluster experience all for the sake of “convenience” and that will become the new standard! Oh well. I hope others get more excited for those things, and even this giant bucket of a High Resolution VR prototype from Qualcomm!

  • G-man

    so… the vive pro eye is going to be sold with the same screen that was supposedly an upgrade over the vive. now the eye, which will probably be $1000+ just for the headset, will be half the pixels of this new “comsumer” level headset….

    thats why htc didnt want to talk about details. if they gave the specs of the pro eye and the cosmos people would realise what a rip off the pro and pro eye are.