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Acer, HP open pre-orders for HoloLens-style headsets

Acer, HP open pre-orders for HoloLens-style headsets

Acer and HP have both announced Windows Mixed Reality headsets for launch this summer, priced at around ten percent of Microsoft's flagship HoloLens Development Edition.

Acer and Hewlett Packard (HP) have opened pre-orders for their Windows Mixed Reality headsets, offering access to Microsoft's technology for a fraction of the price of the flagship HoloLens headset.

Designed as an augmented, rather than virtual, reality system, Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform first arrived on the company's own HoloLens. Sadly, its pricing kept it out of the hands of many: At $3,000 for the HoloLens Development Edition and with no consumer version available, the HoloLens has thus far failed to set the world alight while rival virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR (PSVR) dominate the public's consciousness.

Now, though, two partner companies have officially opened pre-orders for their wares - albeit, like the HoloLens Development Edition, only in North America. Acer's Windows Mixed Reality headset is priced at $299 standalone or $399 with motion-tracking controllers (approximately £232 and £310 respectively, excluding taxes); HP's equivalent, meanwhile, is priced at $329 with no controller bundle available (approximately £256 excluding taxes).

Those prices come with some cutbacks from Microsoft's HoloLens vision, however. Where HoloLens augments reality by having the user view the world through a transparent display which can overlay virtual objects at will, both Acer and HP's equivalents are more traditional screen-based virtual reality devices which rely on front-facing cameras for both motion tracking and augmented reality applications.

Both headsets are expected to formally launch this summer, though international availability did not form part of either companies' announcements. In both cases, the companies are targeting developers rather than end-users; thus far no date has been offered for a commercial launch.

2 Comments

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edzieba 12th May 2017, 13:15 Quote
The catch is, at 1/10 the quality too.
These do not use OLED panels like the Rift CV1, Vive, GearVR phones or even Daydream phones. Instead, they use LCd panels. Full persistence LCD panels, not even having the courtesy to use a pulsed backlight. This means that any head movement will cause very obvious smearing, like on the old Rift DK1.
On top of that, according to RoadtoVR at least, the tracking is pretty high latency compared even to hololens (as expected, due to the much cheaper sensor array).
The controller's reliance on the HMD's cameras for tracking also means that if you cannot see the controller, you are not tracking the controller, and have to fall back to purely IMU-based orientation tracking (thing WiiMote if you face it too far away form the TV).

Personally, I wouldn't waste my money on one of these as they are available now. However, if later Windows Holographic HMDs were released with improved displays and optics (OLED panels, or at least pulsed-backlight) at a slightly higher price point, I would very much be interested in one combined with a backtop, even with the current tracking. I doubt it will be suitable for gaming or anything involving rapid movement, but good-enough-to-avoid-nausea-when-seated tracking combined with high resolutions would be entirely adequate for portable virtual desktop use, and for things like FPV remote piloting.
Guinevere 15th May 2017, 20:47 Quote
I do fear that headsets like this could one day be blamed for why the VR resurgence died. Maybe they'll be 'good enough' like Sony VR or maybe they'll just make everyone queasy and annoyed.

I like the 'aim high' approach of vive / rift, with a 'maybe one day' potential to bring the costs down to mass market levels. Where will these sit? I suspect closer to the 'not good enough' end :(

Oh yeah, and calling them 'mixed reality' is lame.
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