HTC’s Vive Cosmos doesn’t require a high-end gaming PC and it’s coming this year
Virtual reality merchant HTC Vive has a brand new headset on the way. Called the Vive Cosmos, it’s the company’s latest push for a mainstream VR audience, with a big emphasis on ease of use without the need for external base stations.
We’ve finally seen the HTC Vive Cosmos for ourselves at this year’s MWC tech conference, and we’ve collected a few extra tidbits about the intriguing new headset. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the HTC Vive Cosmos.
HTC Vive Cosmos UK release date: When will it launch?
Sadly, details are a bit scarce as to when we can expect the Vive Cosmos to arrive in UK shops. As it stands, HTC hasn’t revealed any firm details just yet, but the Vive Cosmos is expected to launch globally later in 2019.
HTC Vive Cosmos UK price: How much will it cost?
Yet another unknown. Because the Vive Cosmos appears to be a rather entry-level VR kit, we can expect it to be priced below HTC’s already-popular Vive VR headset, which currently retails for around £500. There’s also the HTC Vive Pro to consider too, which you can pick up for £1,300.
HTC Vive Cosmos features: What does it do?
While HTC Vive is generally synonymous with the higher end of VR hardware, the Vive Cosmos is very much pitched as an entry-level headset. Nothing has been released in the way of specs, although HTC says the Cosmos will have the “sharpest screen yet”, suggesting it may have a more pixel-packed display than the already impressive Vive Pro.
HTC also says that it will have the “capability to be powered by more than a traditional gaming PC”. That’s vague, although a teaser for the headset does feature a smartphone, which suggests there could be scope for the Vive Cosmos to work with either a PC or with a high-powered phone.
HTC’s marketing spiel makes a big deal out of “ease of use” and making virtual reality “accessible to those who may not have invested in VR before”. We do know that the Vive Cosmos won’t need base stations – which need to be set up around the current Vive for room tracking.
Vive Cosmos will also be the first headset to use the new Vive Reality System, which the company describes as “a completely reimagined way for people to experience the virtual world”. Basically, it’s a user interface revamp. Drew Bamford, vice president of HTC Vive’s Creative Labs has said the company wants VR to “feel less like launching apps and instead like stepping between worlds”. Okay then.
HTC Vive Pro Eye
Alongside the Vive Cosmos, HTC has a new high-end Vive Pro model on the way, complete with native eye tracking, dubbed the Vive Pro Eye.
HTC says this new system will remove the need for controllers, with scope for menus and apps to be navigated with nothing more than the user’s gaze. Controlling apps with your eyesight stands to simplify the whole process of using VR, but the main benefits could be technical. Eye tracking means the VR system call use a technique called “foveated rendering”, which sharpens images where a user is looking, and dials back places in the peripheral vision. This means a computer can prioritise where to direct its energy, which has the scope to drastically reduce the requirements to run VR apps.
Eye tracking could be a revelation for the VR industry, but at least for the short term the company is aiming its Vive Pro Eye headset at the enterprise market, saying that the eye-tracking will “allow businesses and developers to gather more data about their training environments”.
The Vive Pro Eye is slated for release in the summer of 2019, while the Vive Cosmos is due “early 2019”. There’s no word on price yet, although we expect the latter headset to be substantially cheaper than the former.