CES 2019: HTC Vive Cosmos Is A ‘Tethered’ VR Headset, Not A Standalone Like Quest

by David Jagneaux • January 8th, 2019

Yesterday at HTC’s CES 2019 press conference, the company revealed not one but two brand new VR headsets known as the Vive Pro Eye and the Vive Cosmos along with a slew of other announcements.

After the conference was over we got an up-close look at the Vive Cosmos and got the chance to chat with Dan O’Brien, General Manager at HTC, about the newly announced headsets and more.

Following the announcements, the biggest question we had was whether or not the Cosmos is a standalone headset like the Oculus Quest, Vive Focus, and Shadow VR, or if it needs to still be powered by something else like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive do currently. As it turns out, it’s the latter.

“It is a tethered solution initially, but we’re not commenting on the specs or the PC specs that will be required for it,” said O’Brien. “We’ll have a lot more information on future functionality and form factors that it will be supported by in the future.”

When he says “initially” that’s because the plan is to have it become a scalable VR headset that can be used in more than just one configuration, such as perhaps powered by a smartphone like the Gear VR when you’re not at your PC, or a low-power laptop. That’s the idea, anyway.

For those that wanted an answer to the Oculus Quest, HTC has the Vive Focus as an enterprise-targeted product and the Shadow VR headset on its Vive Wave platform as the consumer-facing product.

vive cosmos controllers ces 2019


“The Vive Reality system will be able to work with different headsets but this [Cosmos] is the first one,” said O’Brien. “Vive Wave is an SDK that can be ported and used by other headset manufacturers. We have six other headsets that use the Vive Wave SDK and what that gives the hardware partners is not only a run-time that operates in their headset but it also gives them a united storefront for developers to use on the backend and consumers to use on the front end. Whereas the Vive Reality system is a completely new user experience built for the Cosmos, which is a premium-end VR system.”

“This is just the first look of this product, but we wanted to make a product on the consumer side that helped us expand the audience a little bit with an easier set up process that a broader user might be able to take out of the box and set up very easily having an intuitive experience with Origin and Lens to help navigating in there. It’s not us pivoting away from anything, we’re just trying to broaden the audience.”

Until HTC decides to share more information we’re just left wanting more. The Cosmos has a really sleek design, attractive Touch-meets-Tron style controllers, and the potential to be a really great headset. Let’s hope they can deliver something impressive at an affordable consumer-friendly cost.

Let us know what you think of the HTC Vive Cosmos down in the comments below!

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