HTC Vive Pro Eye, Vive Cosmos VR headsets announced at CES 2019

HTC Vive Pro Eye, Vive Cosmos VR headsets announced at CES 2019

HTC is putting some enterprise application heft behind its Vive virtual reality system via partnerships with Mozilla's Firefox, AWS Amazon Sumerian and Fidelity investments as well as an eye tracking system. And the Vive Pro Eye adds a crucial new bit of functionality to upgrade the headset, and the concept of VR in general, even further. It also unveiled the Vive Reality System - a re-imagination of Vive core software that includes a virtual world called Origin for socialising, video viewing and game playing.

So, what is the Vive Cosmos and why is it different to the HTC Vive and the upcoming Vive Focus?

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The eye tracking hardware enables new experiences and thus "your eyes are transformed into an intuitive controller and intention communicator, and the results are quickened reaction for games, insightful data collection and much more". The headset is being advertised as a device with absolute comfort and easy setup, intended for home and mobile use.

Again, HTC stayed tight-lipped on the headset's full specifications, but it's promising that the Pro Eye will deliver boosted VR interaction speeds and more efficient CPU and GPU usage compared to its last-gen professional-grade VR headset. The Vive Pro Eye will release this spring.

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However, what we do know is that it will be a step up from the Viveport VR games subscription. The device is called the Vive Pro Eye, and it promises to bring higher-quality VR experiences, thanks to a technique called "foveated rendering". Sporting the deep blue of the Vive Pro and Eye, the Cosmo looks familiar and foreign from anything HTC has previously released. This will become available on April 5. Pricing and availability of the new Vive Cosmos is yet to be made official. The Vive Cosmos can be paired with a PC, and will get smartphone connectivity in the future. If I'm reading the room right, Vive Reality might lock down the Vive ecosystem, constructing a walled garden around what was originally a more open headset platform. If that's the case, it's a significant blow to SteamVR - which, for all Valve's flaws, is still probably my favorite (and the most reliable) implementation of a VR storefront. Instead, the Vive Pro Eye will blur those sections of the image, saving processing power. HTC isn't almost as well-oiled a machine. Expect a bunch of news around GDC, I'd assume.

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