2021 will see Facebook push on with its all-in-one VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2. But Vive maker HTC also predicts the rise of another category of device this year – the all-in-two.
That’s the phrase HTC VIVE EMEA General Manager Graham Wheeler uses to describe lighter VR and AR devices that don’t house any compute onboard but are instead connected to a smartphone. Original phone-powered VR viewers like Gear VR held a phone up to a pair of lenses to act as a display, but we’ve seen an increasing number of products that instead connect a phone via a wire so they could be stored in a pocket. The Nreal AR glasses are one such example of these all-in-two headsets.
2021: The Year Of The All-In-Two?
Writing about his predictions for the industry in 2021 in a piece provided to UploadVR, Wheeler reasoned we’ll see more of that this year.
“The leading processors in smartphones are now very impressive and capable of powering VR viewers, so we expect to see the rise of All-in-Two devices – lightweight glasses which are connected to a smartphone,” he said. “It’s technology we’ve looked at for some time, tackling the problem from multiple angles including working with chip manufacturer industry leaders Qualcomm to create the VIVE Wave platform, meaning powerful smartphones running 5G can drive XR experiences.”
2020 was a mostly quiet year for HTC but, last February, the company did tease a concept 6DOF headset that would indeed be powered by a phone. Codenamed Proton, there was also a version of the device much closer to the Quest 2 that stored compute onboard. Wheeler gave no indication of if HTC will release or even talk more about the device in 2021.
More HTC Predictions
Wheeler also predicted that 2021 would see PC technology continue to advance, edging towards anticipated breakthroughs like reliable foveated rendering. “2020 was a great year for PC graphics, and in the future we expect to see ray tracing combined with foveated rendering, as the graphics card makers continue to push their technology,” he wrote. “It’ll mean you’ll be able to experience better graphics for more of the time, as the area being rendered is essentially being super sampled.”
Finally, Wheeler also suggested 2021 will see hand-tracking development continue to advance but still mainly be deployed in B2B applications, though he noted that after a strong focus on that sector in 2020, the company feels “there will be some more consumer focused announcements in 2021 as tech takes another step forward.”