Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

New standalone VR headsets continue to ramp up competition in the emerging tech sector. HTC has introduced its Vive Focus (starting at $599) to additional markets beyond China — including Europe and the U.S. — while launching an SDK and encouraging developers to experiment with its 6DoF controller add-on. This week, it also unveiled an enterprise version of the Vive Focus. Meanwhile, the all-in-one $399 Oculus Quest headset is scheduled to launch by spring of next year. And new to the scene is Shadow Creator’s $399 Shadow VR, which recently launched globally and is the latest of 15 partners to leverage HTC’s Vive Wave platform.

The new headset from Shanghai-based Shadow Creator (below) “comes with the company’s self-developed 6DoF controllers,” reports Engadget. “Much like the Vive Focus, the Shadow VR is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 and features a 110-degree field of view via Fresnel optics, but it comes with a slightly lower 2,560 x 1,440 display resolution (the Vive Pro, Focus and Quest all have 2,880 x 1,600).”

“HTC is not involved in the hardware of Shadow VR but it does run on the Vive Wave platform, so HTC would take the store cut from all Viveport sales,” notes UploadVR. “This is the same strategy that Google is taking with the Lenovo Mirage Solo Daydream standalone VR headset, which only has one 3DoF hand controller (with developers being able to request a special 6DoF add-on kit).”

“The Shadow VR is designed to fall right in the middle of the virtual reality landscape, placing it more or less on the same ground as the Oculus Quest and HTC’s own Vive Focus,” New Atlas points out. “These headsets are all standalone devices, meaning they don’t need to be plugged into a powerful PC — like the Vive or Oculus Rift — nor are they running off a phone, like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Daydream.”

We saw the Pico Neo headset at last year’s CES. The new standalone Pico Goblin 2 (G2), available in China, is another HTC hardware partner. The device also uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 XR platform, and like the Shadow VR, has opted for LCD screens rather than OLED (featured on the Oculus Quest).

“For hardware partners such as Pico, the Vive Wave SDK and platform offers an open interface for easy creation and porting of content, which enables Pico to focus on device innovation without worrying about providing an extensive content library,” explains VRFocus.

HTC just announced an enterprise version of its Vive Focus headset, the Vive Wave VR SDK, and the Vive Enterprise Advantage package that offers options for licensing, tech support and system management. The company also unveiled its Sync enterprise collaboration tool.

“Vive Sync is a collaboration and meeting application for internal teams,” reports ZDNet. “Via VR, Sync provides shared spaces for training, planning, software development and vertical applications for industries such as healthcare and automotive.”

We expect to see a number of compelling VR and AR solutions at January’s CES in Las Vegas. The ETCentric reporting team will be publishing live from the show floor.

For those who may be attending, the following are some of the key exhibitors that plan to demo VR products:

  • 3dRudder (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21803)
  • Altia Systems (LVCC South Hall 2 – MP25677)
  • DOF Robotics (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21336)
  • HTC Corporation (Wynn Meeting Rooms – Alsace 1)
  • Kodak (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21013)
  • NextVR (Wynn Hospitality Suites – WYN 30)
  • Nvidia (LVCC North Hall – 6306)
  • Pico Technology (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21621)
  • Pimax Technology (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21826)
  • Tobii AB (LVCC South Hall 1 – 21618)

Among the CES 2019 nominees for Innovation Awards in the Virtual and Augmented Reality category:

  • Intelligent Meeting Assistant from Adok
  • AstroReality from Quantum AR Technologies
  • Golden-i Infinity smart glass from Kopin Corporation
  • Hurricane 360 VR Simulator Ride from DOF Robotics
  • PanaCast Live portable video broadcasting system from Altia Systems
  • Pico G2 all-in-one VR headset from Pico Technology
  • LetsPlott extended reality platform from Plott
  • Teslasuit full-body wearable platform from VR Electronics
  • XR Millenium Chair from 3dRudder
  • World’s first extended reality laptop from zSpace
  • STRATOS Inspire plug-and-play haptic module from Ultrahaptics
  • SLAM and hand-tracking technology from uSens
  • Verifocal VR Kit from Lemnis Technologies