HTC unveiled a new slate of virtual-reality headsets today: the Cosmos, Cosmos Play, Cosmos Elite, and Cosmos XR.
The four new devices are the successors to last year’s PC-driven Vive Cosmos headset, and they share much of the same technology found in the original Cosmos. They also share the same modular design language, which extends HTC’s strategy for getting VR headsets into as many hands as possible.
Vive Cosmos Play
The Cosmos Play is the entry-level headset in the new Cosmos lineup. There’s no price or official release date yet, but HTC says it will be the cheapest Cosmos headset in the bunch. It’s the basic model, so it lacks the advanced features you’ll find on the other headsets. It has four sensor cameras instead of the six that come standard on the midrange Cosmos headset.
You still get inside-out tracking, so you won’t need to worry about setting up external sensors around the room to track your position in the virtual world. However, room-scale experiences aren’t going to be able to discern your position within the space as accurately with just the four sensors.
All of the new Cosmos headsets are modular, the Play included. So if you buy this headset and, after spending some time with it, decide you’d like a more immersive VR experience with better sensing, you don’t need to go out and buy a whole new headset. You can just pick up a new faceplate with some extra sensors and snap that onto the Play. Also add a couple controllers and you’ve effectively turned your Cosmos Play headset into the more powerful standard Cosmos headset.
The Vive Cosmos is HTC’s new flagship headset. Consider it the successor to the original Vive. It features six sensor cameras for additional waist and vertical tracking, and it comes with two controllers. Like the other headsets in the Cosmos lineup, it’s totally modular, so you can turn it into a Cosmos Elite by buying a few accessories. It’s available today for $700.
Vive Cosmos Elite
VR enthusiasts who want HTC’s highest-end model should consider the Cosmos Elite. It’s bundled with an external tracking faceplate, two external tracking lighthouses, and two Vive controllers. Everything comes together priced at $900. HTC says it’ll be available later in the first quarter of 2020. Preorders begin on February 24.
Vive Cosmos XR
Lastly, the most powerful of HTC’s new headsets is the Cosmos XR. Unlike the other Cosmos models, which are made for playing games and diving into immersive VR experiences, the XR is primarily a development tool. It’s a mixed-reality headset—HTC’s first—with two pass-through cameras to allow information and AR elements to be overlaid on top of the real world. The XR is designed to appeal to the same audience as the Microsoft Hololens. There’s currently no pricing for it, but HTC claims the XR will debut as a developer kit in the second quarter of 2020.
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