The Year Before “The Year of VR” – part 1

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I’ve found myself having a lot more conversations about VR technology recently. Mainly because it’s the technology kick I’m most interested in of late, but really because this year [2016] in particular is a big turning point. For those not up to speed on why this year is different here is a short recap of VR on the move:

  • Late Nov 2015 Samsung releases the “consumer” version of Gear VR headset.
    • Off and on Feb 2016 through this month Samsung has offered promotions to give the Gear VR away for free with the purchase of a new compatible phone
  • March 2016 Oculus releases the consumer Oculus Rift
  • April 2016 Valve releases the HTC Vive
  • Earlier this year Sony announced that PlayStation VR will be released in Oct
  • A few weeks ago Google announced Daydream, the successor to Google Cardboard
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Google Daydream

This is a lot more movement in one year on the VR front from any other year. At the same time there has been, obviously, a rise in companies that are getting into the VR content/hardware arena.

And just a couple of weeks ago, one of the crazier things I’ve seen this year, at least 3 companies announce backpack PCs. Yeah, backpacks. You know, because the higher-end VR sets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) need fairly powerful PCs to run the graphics (much more than the phone based ones). So with those higher-end PCs you have wires running to your goggles which tend to end tangled up as you are twirling around in a 360 degree environment. The solution is to wear the computer on your back.

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Backpack PC

So it’s an exciting year for VR but it’s just the beginning.