HTC's Vive Cosmos VR headset is unbelievable - and frustrating - in equal measure

HTC reveals Vive Cosmos a new VR headset with inside-out tracking

HTC Announces Vive Cosmos, A VR Headset That Can Seemingly be Powered by Your Phone

HTC's virtual reality division, Vive, has announced new high-end tethered and self-contained virtual reality devices, the Vive Pro Eye and Vive Cosmos respectively, along with new software offerings including an all-you-can-eat software subscription. Foveated rendering uses eye tracking to increase the quality of the image where you're looking. The Vive Pro Eye, meanwhile, will launch in the second quarter at an as-yet unconfirmed price.

To the user, it's fine if a VR announcement doesn't apply to them at the moment.

Following last year's introduction of the Vive Pro for business customers, HTC today unveiled the HTC Vive Pro Eye, a headset with integrated eye tracking. It lacks all the indentations of previous headsets used by the Lighthouse sensors to track the headset.

Past year at CES 2018, HTC announced the Vive Pro HMD with higher resolution screens, and showed off its wireless adapter. In a press release, HTC said Cosmos will have "the capability to be powered by more than a traditional gaming PC". I got to try out the game myself and the eye tracking worked pretty much as expected, though it was only available with the in-game menus - the gameplay itself still required a controller, which in this case was mounted on a plastic bat.

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HTC General Manager, Americas, Dan O'Brien, positioned the Eye hardware as a great move for enterprise users. The Vive Cosmos will not feature eye tracking and will rely on handheld controllers.

Last but not least, HTC is working with both Firefox and Amazon AWS to reinvent the web for VR. Another notable feature of the Vive Cosmos is customization, with HTC promising that the company will keep upgrading the device with a wide array of modules that will be showcased soon. "VR and AR need to be about experiences, not applications", he said. The accompanying bumpf doesn't really make things any clearer, but it sounds like a new interface and tutorial system that will presumably do a better job of easing people into VR than the Vive does now.

The Cosmos, which will run a new platform called "Vive Reality System", is meant to be a more approachable type of headset than what HTC has typically offered.

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