When HTC announced its Vive Cosmos headset at CES 2019 one of the main features touted was the modular front faceplate, the idea behind it being future versatility depending on customers needs. Today, the company has officially unveiled three faceplates as well as hardware options to arrive in the next few months.
Now dubbed the Vive Cosmos Series, in addition to the standard Vive Cosmos which has been available to purchase since October 2019 for £699 GBP the family of headsets will soon include the Vive Cosmos Elite, Cosmos XR, and Cosmos Play. Each one is aimed at a different demographic, from the entry-level consumer up to enterprise use cases.
“Our customers want an incredible VR experience and we are proud to announce a new family of products tailor-made for VR use-cases of all types,” said Yves Maître, CEO, HTC in a statement. “Vive Cosmos is truly the most versatile headset yet. From consumers just discovering VR for the first time to the demanding business user, Vive Cosmos offers stellar quality, comfort, and the ability to evolve VR and XR journeys over time – from changing faceplates to adding options like wireless.”
While their functionality might be slightly different all three designs still feature Vive Cosmos’ core specifications, a combined resolution of 2880×1770 (1440×1700 per-eye) using an LCD display, a hinged front to easily drop in and out of VR, inside-out tracking and 6DoF motion controllers.
Vive Cosmos Elite
First up is the Vive Cosmos Elite which provides both inside-out and external tracking capabilities. Compatible with SteamVR lighthouse base stations (v1.0 & v2.0) the design removes two of the standard Vive Cosmos tracking cameras whilst support Vive’s ecosystem of peripherals including the Vive Tracker.
The device will be available both full kit and front faceplate options. The Vive Cosmos Elite bundle will retail for $899 USD, supplied with the External Tracking Faceplate, 2 SteamVR base stations, and two Vive controllers, made available later in Q1 2020. If you already own the Vive Cosmos then the External Tracking Faceplate will be offered as a stand-alone accessory in Q2 for $199.
Vive Cosmos XR
The Vive Cosmos XR, on the other hand, will be for mixed reality (MR) use cases, likely geared towards enterprise applications. Looking like some multi-eyed alien, the design features four cameras for inside-out tracking plus two new pass-through cameras.
HTC states that these allow “a near-complete passthrough field of view that utilizes the majority of the VR display,” offering up to a 100-degree field of view (FoV). That would be a marked improvement over other XR headsets like Microsoft HoloLens or Majic Leap 1.
Like the Vive Cosmos Elite the Vive Cosmos XR will be available in both headset bundle and single faceplate versions depending on whether customers own the system or not. No prices may yet been made available for either, with a developer kit set to be released in Q2 2020.
Vive Cosmos Play
Finally, there’s the baby of the bunch, the Vive Cosmos Play. This is squarely aimed at introducing VR to new customers. The design is a stripped-back model with only four inside-out tracking cameras and no external headphones.
Said to offer a more affordable option not only for the general public but also for business or museum environments looking at putting on public VR experiences, a price for the Vive Cosmos Play hasn’t been announced.
From the sounds of it (possibly due to the reduced tracking capabilities), HTC Vive suggests the Vive Cosmos Play is ideally suited to entry-level VR experiences, listing in the press release Viveport Video, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and A Fisherman’s Tale. Slightly unusual and begging the question as to how it would fair with more advanced titles.
When all of these headset bundles and faceplates are finally out that’s going to make for quite the product lineup. To begin with, the Vive Cosmos Elite will be available for pre-order online from 24th February. As further updates on the Vive Cosmos Series are released, VRFocus will let you know.