Tech manufacturer Acer are one or the firms that Microsoft has partnered with to create its new line of virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) for its Windows 10 operating system. Acer are one of the first to have a prototype of their headset ready for testing.
Microsoft claim that one of the top reasons for returns of VR headsets to Microsoft Stores is due to the complexity of the set up, multiple cameras, trackers and wires can be a bit of a muddle for some users. CNet managed to get hands-on with one of the early versions of the Acer device and noted that, in comparison, it is designed to be simply plug-and-play. The HMDs are designed to work with the new Creators Update which has recently been rolled out to Windows 10 devices and will use the Microsoft app store to purchase and download, though will mean that Oculus Rift and HTC Vive apps will not be compatible.
The Acer device uses inside-out tracking for six degrees of freedom, which means no extra boxes or trackers are necessary, all the required hardware is contained within the headset. A standard controller is currently needed to control things such as movement and selection, with no word yet on if the devices will support any form of motion controller. Curiously, Microsoft are referring to the new range of headsets as mixed reality (MR) and not VR, which in theory means that apps designed to work with the more expensive HoloLens should also work with this range of devices, though how the reality mixing would work has not yet been explained.
The early development kit has some problems however; ambient light can affect how the tracking works and cause the screen to black out. It is expected that they will be ironed out before the expected release for Christmas 2017. The Acer HMD is expected to be priced at around $300 (USD), cheaper than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Similar devices from Lenovo and HP are expected to be released commercially at around the same time.
VRFocus will bring you further information on the Acer HMD and other VR hardware when it becomes available.