Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality vision is nearing its debut on October 17 as the final software bits will be released with the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and a few headsets will start shipping. On Tuesday, October 3, the company hosted an event where it provided some additional details, introduced a new Samsung headset, and talked about some key software partnerships.
At the event, Microsoft clarified its Windows Mixed Reality vision, highlighting how it is working to move beyond paper and screens to erase the barrier that exists between the physical and digital worlds. Their approach to mixed reality will continue along very specific lines:
- Embrace the entire continuum from augmented reality to virtual reality and everywhere in between
- Build cutting-edge devices and the technologies that power them, such as HoloLens
- Create a unified platform for applications and the services to target
The Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset was announced, adding another member to the list of Microsoft partners making headsets for the Windows Mixed Reality marketplace. The Odyssey will provide the same relatively standardized set of specifications and capabilities as the lineup of headsets that’s already been announced, and it will be available with motion controllers for the slightly higher than usual price of $500. The higher price is justified by the use of larger, higher-resolution AMOLED displays compared to the LCD displays used by other manufacturers
The Odyssey’s specifications are as follows:
|Displays:||Two 3.5-inch high-resolution AMOLED displays|
|Resolution:||1,440 x 1,600 each|
|Field of view:||110 degrees horizontal|
|Refresh rate:||Up to 90Hz (native)|
|Ports:||1x HDMI 2.0
1x USB 3.0 Gen1 Type-A
1x headphone / microphone jack
|Other features:||Front-hinged display
Detachable HDMI/USB combo cable
Alanna Cotton, Samsung Electronics vice president and general manager, provides some details on the Odyssey’s release:
“When we began designing and engineering the Samsung HMD Odyssey with Microsoft, there was only one goal in mind, create a high-performing headset that’s easy to set up and can transport people to the incredible world of virtual reality. Powered with dual AMOLED displays which Samsung is known for, that results in vivid colors and the highest resolution in the industry, built-in spatial AKG headphones, inside-out tracking, built-in microphone, and quick, responsive motion controllers, the Samsung HMD Odyssey immerses users with a 110-degree field of view as they discover the new frontier of Windows Mixed Reality.
Samsung is committed to working across platforms to build cutting-edge technology, and we’re excited to partner with Microsoft to shape the future of virtual reality. But most of all, we can’t wait for you to take the Samsung HMD Odyssey out for a spin, and see it for yourself.”
Windows Mixed Reality headsets available for pre-order
If you’ve been champing at the bit to get your hands on a new Windows Mixed Reality headset, then Microsoft wants you to know that each model available for purchase this holiday season can now be pre-ordered. Here is the list of products that will soon be available for order at the Microsoft Store:
- Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset: preorder for $400 with controllers with availability October 17
- Dell Visor: pre-order for $450 with controllers with availability October 17
- HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset: pre-order for $450 with controllers with availability October 17
- Lenovo Explorer: pre-order for $400 with controllers with availability October 17
- Samsung HMD Odyssey: pre-order for $500 with controllers with availability November 6
AltspaceVR joins Microsoft
Next up is news that the team at AltspaceVR is joining Microsoft, bringing immersive communications to the Microsoft stable. AltspaceVR has been a pioneer in that particular technology, enabling VR events in 160 countries including large-scale events hosted by NBC, Drew Carey, and more.
Immersive VR content
Microsoft announced that more than 20,000 apps leveraging Windows Mixed Reality will be available in the Microsoft Store as of October 17. That includes a host of some of the most popular VR titles, such as Obduction, Dreams of Dali, Space Pirate Trainer, Superhot, Arizona Sunshine, Luna, Skyworld, Move, Free the Night, Minecraft, Fantastic Contraption.
In addition, developers can now access the Windows Mixed Reality SteamVR preview, to get an advanced feel for how the two VR platforms will integrate. Consumers will get access to the preview this coming holiday season.
Finally, Microsoft will provide the first look on October 17 at the coming Halo-based Windows Mixed Reality experience. That follows on from the Halo: Recruit introduction that was shown off during Tuesday’s event.
Update: Added more details following the press event.
- Asus joins the Windows Mixed Reality party with its own official headset
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- Unboxing the HTC Vive Pro: Take a peek at what you get
- Qualcomm’s stand-alone VR headset design uses Tobii eye-tracking
- The best VR innovations at CES 2018 so far