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HTC announces Vive Pro Eye and Vive Cosmos VR headsets

08 January 2019

But comfort and ease of use are also major factors.

"This year, Vive has set out to bring everyday computing tasks into VR for the first time", said HTC Vive vice president Michael Almeraris in a statement.

The HTC Vive Focus seems similar to the Cosmos - the brand needs to make sure they're clearly differentiated. There's no pricing yet, but it's supposed to launch in the second quarter of 2019. HTC explains that the eye tracking takes place via LED sensors located around the lenses inside the HMD. Whether Cosmos is coming quite that soon or not remains to be seen. Plus, it comes with a flip-up design, so you can swap between reality and virtual reality instantly.

The motion controllers have been redesigned and now resemble the Oculus Touch more than the previous generation Vive wands. In a press release, HTC said Cosmos will have "the capability to be powered by more than a traditional gaming PC". However, a glowing silhouette of a smartphone, is a strong hint in the direction HTC is headed.

HTC Announces Vive Cosmos, A VR Headset That Can Seemingly be Powered by Your Phone
HTC's Viveport Infinity subscription offers unlimited access to VR

The lack of clarity gave the impression that HTC still doesn't have a high-quality veneer with its launches - that it doesn't have a clear, defined strategy for getting its VR platform in the hands of millions of paying consumers. While it's really cool that the headset can track your eye movement, it will also be able to collect the information of what you're looking at.

As the name suggests, HTC Vive Pro Eye uses built-in eye tracking. Additionally, it offers the Vive experience without the use of any external tracking devices. The last one is important for people using laptops to run their VR experience as the practice burns through battery life. The Vive Pro employs what HTC calls "foveated rendering", a technology which efficiently allocates the GPU power for better image rendering and an overall sharper visual output. Combined with the eye tracking tech, companies can track where consumers look the most to help develop products.

On the services side, HTC announced Viveport Infinity, a long-term VR subscription service giving customers access to over 500 apps, including "top games" and educational apps, for a monthly fee.

HTC announces Vive Pro Eye and Vive Cosmos VR headsets