The Chinese VR space has been heating up quite a bit lately, with major corporations like Tencent entering the market and over 100 other HMD manufaturers based in the mainland. Today a new player has entered the market with a particularly interesting release – a mobile VR HMD with integrated hardware, costing only $30.
Called the JiDome-1, the HMD is manufactured by a new player in the market – FiresVR. The company says they are looking to be the “Xaiomi of VR” (Xiaomi is one of China’s biggest smartphone manufacturers). The headset comes with it’s own Unity-based SDK and similar to Samsung’s Gear VR, will have an integrated “high-precision 9-axis gyroscope and proximity sensor” and “redefined weak interaction buttons.” Additionally, the press release claims that the device will contain an “air-cooling system with balanced cooling efficiency and working noise.” It is unclear if this means that the device will have something that will work to actively cool the phone (which could potentially increase playtime) or it it is similar to the Gear VR’s airflow – which helps to reduce fogging on the lenses.
FiresVR’s CEO Frank Lou claims the “JiDome-1 is technically very close to Samsung’s GearVR,” but acknowledges it “is slightly inferior to GearVR in user experience.” He says, however, that this may change “if mobile phone manufacturers are willing to cooperate.” The JiDome-1 is compatible with “with [an] extensive [list of] Android phones with designated parameters,” but it is “still lacking support from key mobile phone manufacturers.”
Phones that are compatible with the device must have “GPUs that support API of OPENGL ES3.0 or higher, with overall performance equivalent to or better than Qualcomm Adreno 310 (a GPU built into the Qualcomm 801 platform).” Meaning that it works with “about 30% of the phones on the market” but that number is expected to rise in 2016.