During Computex Taipei 2017 in May, HTC Vive and Intel announced a partnership to bring the latter’s WiGig wireless solution to the head-mounted display (HMD). Now it seems as though Intel is doubling down on its virtual reality (VR) efforts by discontinuing its WiGig line of products.
Intel has announced plans to discontinue its range of 802.11ad products, with shipments of its current-generation WiGig devices, including antennas and controllers, ceasing by the end of 2017. WiGig hasn’t proved to be very popular for most consumer needs due to its inability to directly compete with Wi-Fi. Whilst it can transmit up to 7–8 Gb/s data rates with minimal latency, this is only suitable for distances up to ten meters because of the 60 GHz spectrum. 60 GHz signals also cannot penetrate walls.
For VR on the other hand WiGig is completely suitable, as everything will be in the same room. So it’s plus points (high data transfer) are just what VR needs, with WiGig’s negatives (short range), inside the parameters of a roomscale environment.
VRFocus managed to demo a prototype WiGig VR unit back in June during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017. While impressed, the device was certainly a lot more rough and ready than competitor DisplayLink (which also had a booth).
However WiGig’s biggest competition on HTC Vive will be TPCast. The Chinese, Vive X Accelerator startup, has gained the most attention with its wireless VR solution, looking to be the first to market with North America and European pre-orders now live, retailing for $299 USD.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Intel and WiGig, reporting back with any further updates.