Vive Cosmos, HTC’s upcoming PC VR headset (which is also likely to support tethering to smartphones), has popped up in FCC listings, suggesting that the company is moving rapidly to bring it to market.

The Vive Cosmos headset was only just revealed last month and details are still quite thin on the ground, but new filings at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggest it’s moving quickly toward market-readiness, likely with the intention of heading off Oculus’ upcoming Quest launch which is expected in Q2.

The FCC is tasked with certifying products with electromagnetic emissions to be safe and compatible with regulations. Products utilizing radio, WiFi, infrared, etc. need certification before they can be distributed for sale. Certification by the FCC marks one step closer to the launch of consumer electronics product.

This week documents for the Vive Cosmos appeared. The filings give the model number 2Q2R100, and a model specifying the location of the device’s label shows the shell of the Vive Focus with its unmistakable side-mounted cameras.

Image courtesy HTC

The documents don’t reveal much else except what kind of wireless radios might be on board. One filing specifies a 2.4GHz radio but no 5GHz radio. If that band was being used for WiFi, it would be very odd to not to also include more modern 5GHz WiFi capabilities as well; as 5GHz isn’t present, it seems likely that the 2.4GHz band is not being used for WiFi but instead for wireless communication to the headset’s controllers, just like the original Vive.

Key specs for Cosmos have yet to be revealed, like display resolution, refresh rate, weight, price, and more. HTC, like many companies, has submitted a Confidentiality Request to temporarily keep the following FCC documents out of the public eye:

  • Internal photos
  • User manual
  • Test set-up photos
  • External photos

However, we’ve likely seen some very strong hints about what to expect from Cosmos (and its smartphone connectivity) from a Qualcomm reference headset spotted at CES.

Image courtesy HTC Vive

As for the timing of the filings, the documents indicate that regulatory testing of the device began at least as far back as the end of September, 2018. HTC has said that Cosmos will launch in 2019, with dev kits coming “early” in the year; it seems likely that HTC wants to at least get Cosmos dev kits out the door before Facebook launches Oculus Quest (expected in Q2).

HTC Confirms Vive Cosmos Will Support OpenVR/SteamVR

From the company’s curious semi-reveal of Cosmos at CES, we expect that HTC has plans to launch a new flagship phone which will be able to tether to the headset, and that Cosmos’ deeper details will remain under wraps until the phone is revealed. As for when that might happen? Our eyes are on the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February.

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  • Proof XR Lab

    Can HTC get their headset inside-out tracking working well on this product? It certainly looks promising.

    There was a marked difference in accuracy between Focus and Mirage Solo with the Focus showing measurable headset drift, of course Mirage using Google’s Worldsense which is a highly developed system. HTC would have been using this on the Focus until they decided to part ways with Google. Headset tracking on WMR is also rock solid when the room has consistent light.

    Hopefully, Cosmos’s 4 cameras should dramatically improve controller tracking over WMR, which I found unusable for certain applications that called for more extreme controller poses (bow games like “In Death”). For application with regular pose (hands in front) not an issue. Both Cosmos and Quest increase field of view for controller should be a big benefit and squash this issue, hopefully WMR 2nd generation will move in this direction.

    • Adderstone VR

      The Cosmos, even with the side facing cameras seems to still have a significant deadspot in tracking right below the headset. So if you’re looking straight forward and your hands are at waist level, close to your belt line, they will probably not be tracked. The current WMR heasets all have this issue. Oculus Quest seem to have mostly elimanated this problem by having the two lower cameras angled down.
      In my experience, you very rarely use your hands above your head without also tilting your head up…it does happen, perhaps in a tennis like game, but far more often your hands would be resting by your sides while you’re looking forwards…I don’t understand why they don’t design the cameras to perform well in the latter scenario.

      • doug

        I wonder if it’d be possible to improve inside-out tracking performance with a new mirror-mode, in which the front wall of the playspace has a big mirror on it. The cams could usually see both the controllers AND their reflections.

        • Élio Isaac

          They should put some sort of tracking camera in each controller itself.

          • FireAndTheVoid

            Absolutely. I’ve found that the WMR headsets have excellent tracking for the headset itself. The tracking only starts to fall apart for me when it comes to the controllers. If you could put cameras on the controllers, then that problem is solved. So, instead of the Quests’ 4 cameras mounted on the HMD, you’d have 2 on the HMD and 2 on each of the controllers for a total of 6. It doesn’t seem that much more expensive to go from 4 to 6 cameras.

          • MosBen

            I can’t speak to cost, but I wonder if that would add too much to the processing overhead for tracking, especially given the limitations of the mobile hardware they’re using. Maybe as inside out tracking improves/gets cheaper and mobile hardware gets better they’ll keep adding cameras.

          • G-man

            that will never work. even a dslr camera suffers massively from rolling shutter and motion blur. a mobile phone level camera tryng to capture an image from an object moving extremely quikcly in someone shand will capture nothing but wobbly blur. unless there is some absolutely massive leap in thecnology as to what can be done with tiny cameras thats not a viable option.

            the reason it works for a headset is you cant accelerate your head anywhere near as much as your hands.

      • K E

        Nicely put. It’s so obvious, it makes you wonder if the designers ever use the products they are building.

      • RagnarLothbrok

        Yeah I agree. What is more interesting though about cosmos is that in the teaser video at 0:09 where rays are going out of the cameras they are two rays (one points up and one points down) which comes out of the headset but there’s no trace of cameras there. It is why on the announcement day of the Cosmos some people stated 6 cameras instead of 4 and it always made me wonder what they’re talkin about since only 4 camera’s to be seen.

        • tityBoi

          Complete speculation but I wonder if maybe they will be tracking the controller with ir cameras which are hidden under the plastic like the way the oculous cameras are hidden. It would make sense, that way you would spend less resources tracking controllers too. Its probably unlikely though.

  • oompah

    Everything chinese will be hammered by You Ass Aye
    until they vanish
    for You Ass Aye Supremacy (rather western supremacy)
    400 year earlier they had sail ships & guns
    now they have USgovt & independent USparliament
    who dictate the all nations.

    think what if rest stops selling to west

    • Jistuce

      US has a Congress, not a Parliament.

      Also… what?

    • FireAndTheVoid

      Lay off the drugs

    • jj

      when you say you ass aye i just imagine youre borat saying that

  • The confidentiality on the docs expires on July, so I guess we’ll get more info on the Cosmos soon