5 VR Headsets Making Headlines in 2021
Every year is bringing us more spatial devices, advancing fidelity, field of vision and general feeling of immersion for both business and consumer users. 2021 is no exception, with tech giants announcing and giving hints of the next big news for Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. The VR market has continued its growth over the past years and is predicted to reach $20.9 billion by 2025. Amongst spatial technologies VR has the largest number of available both enterprise and consumer grade devices.
Virtual Reality technology has gone a long way with its transformation, providing users with unique possibilities to submerge into a completely new or recreated reality. With the pandemic caused continuous limitations, more businesses and consumers are turning to VR in order to solve the challenges of social distancing, remote work and education. The immersive capabilities of VR are truly infinite, allowing users to submerge into a variety of experiences from upskilling and reskilling, connected virtual work environments or even social interactive spaces. The advancement of VR devices delivers maximum realism, connecting people and organizations, while remaining safe and remote.
Last year brought us many VR innovations. With large tech players like Facebook with Oculus Quest 2, Varjo with Varjo VR-3, HP headset HP Reverb G2, launching their new VR headsets. As well as growing numbers of VR users, with the expected number of installed base worldwide, to surpass the 34 million mark by 2024. The big question is, whether we should be expecting any major announcements in 2021?
To answer that, we will be looking into the five VR devices that are making headlines in 2021 in one or the other way.
The HTC seemingly new device, HTC VIVE Air VR, has recently made headlines after winning a design award from the World Design Guide. What seemed like a major leak of the new HTC consumer headset, turned out to be only a design concept. With many getting excited over the idea of a fitness-oriented VR headset, a device that could be much appreciated by many consumers in the time of pandemic. Even though the big announcement did not follow, the feeling of anticipation is clearly in the air. On April 9th, 2021 HTC VIVE has tweeted an image of what could be their next enterprise focused VR device. Considering the upcoming VIVECON 2021 happening on May 11 and 12, we may be looking ahead to a much-anticipated HTC VR headset launch.
The new All-in-One (AIO) VR device by Pico Interactive, Pico Neo 3, has started its pre-sale on April 14th, 2021 and is expected to launch on the Asian market already in May. Pico Neo 3, a high fidelity 6 Degree of Freedom (DOF) consumer focused device is promised to deliver a higher level of immersion, while providing better interactions and perception. The Neo 3 is promised to significantly stand out from its predecessor Pico Neo 2, with double the CPU, optical positional and controllers tracking improvements. The next level of Pico Interactive devices is anticipated to compete with Oculus Quest 2, which was launched in October 2020. You can find more about the new Pico Neo 3 device and its comparison to Oculus Quest 2 here.
In late September 2020, HP unveiled the coming of its Omnicept Solution, an ecosystem like platform which includes the world’s most intelligent VR headset, the Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition VR and SDK aimed at developers. The enhanced new VR headset promised to deliver a number of enterprise focused features like cutting-edge optics, engagement level tracking, foveated rendering and much more. Additionally, in their recent news post, Tobii has confirmed the built-in Tobii Eye Tracking integrated into the new HP VR headset, which is an excellent feature for any enterprise aimed VR device. Originally communicated to be available sometime in spring, the company has finally announced the coming of the Omnicept Edition VR headset and Omnicept Solution SDK in May 2021. The official press release included a statement from David Weinstein, the VR and AR Director of NVIDIA, promising their collaboration to be a step forward in the advancement of the VR experience fidelity.
The big news from Huawei came in late October 2020, when the company announced its new VR game set. Originally promised to be available for developers only at the end of 2020, the device was expected to become available on the Asian consumers market sometime in April 2021. The new consumer aimed VR device promises smoother and more free interactions, along with higher sensing and precision capabilities. With the availability of the new device Huawei is preparing to deliver an improved quality of game and application content in the future. The device promises to provide a variety of consumer oriented features like the IMAX theater-like home experience, screen projections and mobile device connection capabilities.
Even though it is not a device launch, Oculus Air Link is a grand leap forward for Oculus Quest 2 consumer grade VR headsets. The new feature, announced mid-April 2021, is promised to be rolled out as part of the v28 software update, with original Oculus Link launched for beta testing in late 2019. The upcoming Air Link is communicated to allow users to wirelessly play PC VR games on the Oculus Quest 2 devices. The next level of gameplay is to be achieved with the native 120 Hz support. The second exciting news is coming from the Oculus Infinite Office update. This VR workspace is designed to feel realistic and submerging, while providing a connected yet safe experience that enables users to interact with the real world. The new update allows you to bring your physical desk into the VR environment as well as connect a physical keyboard to the Oculus Quest 2.
2021 has accelerated enterprise and consumers shift towards virtual spaces, serving as a mean to work, connect and interact safely and remotely. The expanding availability of VR devices is making it possible for more users to embrace this technology. The race to deliver consumer focused light-weight high-fidelity headset has never been this swift. It is an exciting time for VR experience development, as global tech giants are moving entire industries towards the adaptation of VR technology to become a part of our everyday lives.
Author: Anna Rohi, Lucid Reality Labs Senior Marketing & Communications Manager