COMPUTEX: Microsoft and OEM Partners Show Off Mixed Reality Headsets

 

First let me start off with this news by making a clarification about the name Mixed Reality when it comes to Windows Mixed Reality and the Mixed Reality Headsets being manufactured by the Redmond companies partners for Windows 10.

These Head Mounted Devices, HMDs for short, are fully enclosed virtual reality headsets - there is no mixed reality to be had using these devices - there is no visual aspect of using these and also seeing your actual local environment.  That task and functionality will be filled in by HoloLens and similar devices if they ever come to market.

The name Windows Mixed Reality, what Microsoft is calling the capability in Windows 10, actually comes from the spectrum of use intended within this subsystem of Windows 10 from HoloLens (the Mixed Reality part) to the HMDs (the Virtual Reality part).

So the trickle of information about these HMDs was cracked open a little wider today at COMPUTEX 2017 as Microsoft and their OEM partners took to the stage to provide updated images and details about five of these upcoming headsets.

Unfortunately, nothing new was shared about the timing of these hitting the market beyond the generic term this holiday which likely means November/December for the Christmas holiday shopping period. We do know they will likely cost anywhere from $299 and up just based on the pre-order (US and Canada only) availability of the Acer ($299) and HP ($329) headsets from the Microsoft Store. They should stay in that general price range because Microsoft has touted them as affordable for consumers.

Note: I had the opportunity to try out the Acer HMD at Build 2017 in the Datascape demo and I was very impressed with the experience from how comfortable the headset was to the visual effects as I interacted with the 360 degree virtual environment.

There was at least one partner missing from the announcements at COMPUTEX 2017 about the HMDs and that was 3Glasses a company I visited at CES 2017 and at Build 2017.

3Glasses at Build 2017

3Glasses Blubur S1 at Build 2017

They confirmed for me during my visit with them at Build earlier this month that they would be selling their Blubur S1 kit, which includes everything you see in that image above and uses Outside-In tracking, will sell for $499 however, as a developers kit it can already be pre-ordered with a $100 discount. The company also confirmed their Inside-Out Mixed reality Headset that is being built according to Microsoft's specifications is being finalized but they assured me it would also arrive later this year.

Speaking of specifications - all of these HMDs are being built to a standard established by Microsoft so they will work with the HMDs on compatible Windows 10 systems. That also means, and Microsoft confirmed this for me at Build 2017, that the motion controllers announced will work with any of the HMDs from their OEM partners.

In addition, Acer will sell a $399 bundle later this year that contains their Mixed Reality Headset and the motion controllers.

Check out the gallery for images of the various HMDs from Microsoft's Mixed Reality partners along with updated information about the devices.

P.S. We have an Acer Mixed Reality headset pre-ordered already which will ship in August so stay tuned for our expanded coverage of this new consumer technology for Windows 10.

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