A handful of new headsets and swappable faceplates breathes new life into HTC’s lineup of modular VR hardware.
When HTC released its Vive Cosmos back in October last year, it came with some much-needed improvements to the original HTC Vive design; a flip-up visor, all-new RGB LCD panels, a wide tracking FOV, and a revolutionary design that allows you to augment the device with new abilities via interchangeable faceplates.
Today, HTC revealed a handful of new headsets and faceplates joining the Cosmos family, each of which designed to serve the needs of both consumers and businesses, whether it be in the home, the classroom, or the office. Alongside these new headsets comes three new modular faceplates that expand the functionality of the Vive Cosmos.
VIVE Cosmos Elite – The definitive PC VR experience
The Vive Cosmos Elite aims to provide the highest-quality immersive experience to PC VR users. Powered by Base Station 1.0 external tracking, users can move about up to 160 sqft of space as they interact with the virtual world with pinpoint precision.
To make things easy, Vive Cosmos Elite also supports Vive’s ecosystem of peripherals including the Vive Tracker—delivering unprecedented input freedom for VR controls—and Vive’s Wireless Adapter for an untethered VR experience.
Vive Cosmos Elite includes a pre-installed External Tracking Faceplate, 2 SteamVR base stations, and two Vive controllers. The External Tracking Faceplate can be used with base station versions 1.0 or 2.0 as well as the original Vive or Vive Pro controllers and can be easily swapped with the original inside-out tracking faceplate that ships with Vive Cosmos.
The Vive Cosmos Elite bundle will retail for $899 USD and be available Q1 2020. The External Tracking Faceplate will also launch later in the year for $199 as a stand-alone accessory for both the Vive Cosmos and Vive Cosmos Play.
VIVE Cosmos XR – Mixed reality on Cosmos
Available as either a standalone package or interchangeable faceplate, Cosmos XR brings high-quality XR passthrough cameras to existing Vive Cosmos headsets. Debuting as a developer kit in Q2, the Vive Cosmos XR will allow a near-complete passthrough field of view that utilizes the majority of the VR display (up to 100 degrees FOV).
Using Vive Sync, HTC’s VR collaboration tool, Vive Cosmos XR will allow users to bring virtual objects into real-world environments and vice-versa, making it an excellent tool for teams working remotely.
Ditching the Cosmos’ original up-and-down cameras, the Cosmos XR instead features four forward-facing cameras: two for tracking and two for passthrough. By expanding the technological capabilities of the original Cosmos design, Cosmos XR could breathe new life into the Cosmos family by allowing users to upgrade their existing hardware.
VIVE Cosmos Play – Entry-level VR
Referred to by the company as an “entry-level” headset, Vive Cosmos Play is designed for those completely new to VR technology. Four onboard cameras remove the need for external trackers, allowing users to move freely within their playspace via inside-out tracking. The headset is ideal for basic VR games and applications, such as Viveport Video, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and A Fisherman’s Tale.
In terms of enterprise use, the headset could prove useful for businesses looking for new ways to train their employees or engage with consumers. The Vive Cosmos Play also offers a more affordable and simple-to-use VR option for public VR experiences.
Play owners can easily upgrade their Vive Cosmos with Vive’s host of VR accessories, such as Vive Cosmos’ full range of faceplates. Additional details on Vive Cosmos Play will be released in the coming months.
In an official press release, Yves Maître, CEO, HTC said, “Our customers want an incredible VR experience and we are proud to announce a new family of products tailor-made for VR use-cases of all types,” said Maître. “Vive Cosmos is truly the most versatile headset yet. From consumers just discovering VR for the first time to the demanding business user, Vive Cosmos offers stellar quality, comfort, and the ability to evolve VR and XR journeys over time – from changing faceplates to adding options like wireless.”
When the HTC Vive Cosmos was first released, some owners complained of poor tracking due to lighting issues. As stated during our hands-on review, I personally didn’t encounter any tracking issues with the headset; even in my own lab at home. However, HTC did release a beta patch to address several persistent issues. The Vive Cosmos Elite will be available for pre-order via www.vive.com beginning February 24th.
Additional pre-order dates, pricing, and availability for the Cosmos Series will be announced in the coming months. For more information, please visit the HTC Vive website.
Image Credit: HTC