A new virtual reality headset designed for mobility will serve as an entry point into a new virtual world, its maker announced Tuesday.
The US$599 Mova headset from XRSpace, founded by former HTC chief Peter Chou, will support 5G and be the exclusive on-ramp to Manova, a social reality platform that aims to defy the boundaries of space and time to bring people together.
Users can roam Manova as full-body avatars with a user’s personal features to socialize, work and play in a number of public and private spaces, according to XRSpace.
The battery-powered Mova headset is built around the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. The unit comes in two colors, white and orange. It is 20 percent lighter than any other VR headset on the market, XRSpace claims.
It pairs a set of optical sensors with proprietary scanning technology that allows hand gestures to control objects and navigate virtual worlds.
“Gestures are getting better and are a more natural way to control the headset,” said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.
XRSpace touts the absence of wires and controllers in its promotional material for Mova, but it’s likely that controllers will be introduced later to provide the more accurate control needed for some games and detailed work, he told FutureTech.
Mova also has space scanning applications for creating real world physical locations inside the device.
“Our mission is to bring people together through the power of 5G XR, surpassing the limited experience of smartphones today,” Chou said. “The singular goal of XRSpace is to take XR to the masses by redefining how people connect, socialize, and collaborate by simplifying the hardware and user experience.”
There are some doubters about XRSpace taking virtual and augmented reality to the masses, considering the Mova’s $599 price tag.
“VR is already a niche market,” said Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.
“Six hundred dollars will limit the headset to niche adopters, so XRSpace is going for a niche within a niche,” he told FutureTech. “I don’t expect it to get much traction.”
VR is having a moment right now, as people look for new experiences due to the isolation wrought by the pandemic over the past few months, observed Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City.
However, that moment could be fleeting.
“In general, it hasn’t reached the mainstream,” Rubin told FutureTech. “Part of that is due to price, so this is not going to be a democratizing headset.”
Introducing an expensive VR headset at this time could be risky business for XRSpace. “I think it is a big gamble. The trend is toward relatively less expensive headsets to hit more mainstream adoption price points,” Krewell said.
“It’s a huge gamble to go with a new hardware release,” maintained J. P. Gownder, principal analyst at Forrester Research, a market research company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.