Microsoft revealed a new line of PC-based virtual reality headsets from partner companies that will support its upcoming Windows 10 upgrade, the Creator’s Update. But it looks like PC-based VR isn’t all the company is working on.
Following the conference, Quartz reporter Dave Gershgorn uncovered a now-removed T-Mobile listing for a new variation of Alcatel’s Idol 4S smartphone. Whereas the original device runs on Android, this new edition is named ‘Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 VR’. It’s bundled with a headset and comes loaded with VR apps. Supposedly-leaked training materials from the network had previously hinted at its existence, suggesting it will include a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Its 5.5-inch AMOLED display is said to have a resolution of 1080p.
Of course, the mention of VR is the bit we’re actually interested in. The wording could simply be a slightly misleading way of mentioning the bundled headset. However in light of yesterday’s news, in which Microsoft stressed that it would be bringing its push for 3D apps and services to all Windows 10 devices, it certainly seems possible that the company is perhaps planning its own mobile VR apps if not a Daydream-style ecosystem for the mobile version of Windows 10. We’ve reached out to both Alcatel and Microsoft for clarification.
The VR bundle appears to only be available for a limited time. The older version of the phone was also bundled with a headset.
3D on mobile did play a big part of Microsoft’s presentation. At one point, a Windows 10 phone was used to capture an on-stage sandcastle and quickly render it in 3D. It was then sent to other apps and devices like the new Paint 3D app and brought to virtual life inside the company’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. It’s easy to envision Microsoft releasing the same apps that will let you see this content on mobile, especially considering the company’s recent focus on unifying devices. But the question is if it has any bigger plans than that.
Either way, it doesn’t seem like the headset bundled with the new Idol will include some of the intriguing new features revealed in the PC-based devices unveiled yesterday, like inside-out tracking. But, if the company is using its HoloLens tech to achieve that tracking, perhaps we could one day see it in a mobile-based device too.