The Mass-Market Future of Virtual Reality Devices: Mobile, Standalone, or Both?

by Eric Abbruzzese | 4Q 2016 | IN-4284

While most can agree that tethered VR will never hit the market size and potential of mobile VR, the role of standalone VR is sometimes missed in wider news coverage. Increasing activity surrounding fully standalone VR devices—where all required hardware components are on a head-mounted display—suggests a next step for VR devices and experiences, but barriers in battery, price, and general usefulness will slow down this trend. Intel’s RealSense offers a glimpse into a standalone device utilizing machine vision hardware to power VR experiences, rather than a traditional smartphone. Qualcomm’s recently unveiled reference design standalone headset represents a similar outlook on the market. Activity in China is more aggressive, spanning the price spectrum. Mobile VR popularity and capability will factor heavily into this process of hitting mass VR adoption, and the timeline surrounding potential transition.

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