The 7 Biggest Things Coming to Virtual Reality This Year

Virtual reality as we know it today is still an infant of an industry. In other words, it still has plenty of room to grow. Well get ready because in 2017 the VR scene is poised to undergo a series growth spurt. These are the seven important pieces of hardware or software that will be releasing by the end of 2017 — barring any delays, cancellations or diaper emergencies.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Most people, and more than a few journalists, forget that the most prolific virtual reality headsets are not the hulking PC-powered darlings that typically dominate headlines. Mobile VR headsets are sitting in more homes today than any of their tethered older brothers. At 5 million reported units, more Samsung Gear VRs have shipped than the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Daydream and PlayStation VR. And in just a few days the little-headset-that-could is going to be getting even better.

Gear VRs are powered by Samsung smartphones and in two weeks the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will hit store shelves. With better screens, faster processors, more powerful graphical abilities and beefier batteries, Samsung’s newest flagships are poised to make the world’s most popular VR headset the best its ever been. And that’s not the only way Samsung is stepping up its game as 2017 rolls on.

New Gear VR With Remote Control

Releasing alongside those shiny new Galaxy smartphones is a brand new model of Gear VR. The Gear line has been steadily upgraded since its inception and this newest iteration will be combining the slightly larger black model we saw last year, with something no VR headset should ever be without: hand controls.

The new Gear VR will be shipping with a single remote control that makes navigating menus, playing games and interacting socially a much more tactile experience. The controller only has three degrees of freedom (just like the Google Daydream View’s) but it also features a trigger and a surprisingly ergonomic design.

The Gear VR has always been the best way to get started as a VR consumer and this latest form makes that more apparent than ever.

Project Alloy Powered By Intel 

One of the best things about 2017 when it comes to VR is how many more big-name companies are taking huge leaps into the industry. One of those exciting newcomers is Intel.

This year, Intel’s Alloy reference design will be taken to market by a still-unknown third-party manufacturer. This OEM will be shipping a brand new VR headset that is untethered and tracked using inside-out sensors powered by Intel’s RealSense technology.

The content and demand for the first Alloy headset aren’t yet clear, but it should be a significant step toward creating an untethered future for VR.

Microsoft’s VR Headsets Starting With Acer

Last year, Microsoft got more aggressive in the VR space by backing a suite of upcoming headsets from partner manufacturers. The first of these intriguing new HMDs is being made by Acer and is expected to be available this Spring when Microsoft pushes out the Windows 10 Creators Update.

What makes the Microsoft headsets so interesting is their price. The Acer model […]