Huawei is the latest smartphone manufacturer to embrace the growing world of virtual reality, having launched the Huawei VR headset at an event in China. It came alongside the P9 and P9 Max, but the VR headset didn’t make it into the global launch of the P9 in London recently, which rather sadly suggests it’s not going to get a wide release.
There are conflicting reports of how the Huawei VR works, a problem exasperated by the lack of any official news from the company at this stage. The device isn’t a rumor though, and apparently operates in the same way as Samsung’s Gear VR, where a phone is used as the display. The Huawei P9, P9 Max, and the Mate 8 are all compatible according to Engadget, but unlike the Galaxy S6 and S7, they have 1080p screens rather than higher resolution 2560 x 1440 pixel screens, which may affect image quality.
However, other sources say the Huawei VR doesn’t need a phone clipped to the front, and instead has its own display — much like LG’s 360 VR headset — and connects to the host phone using a USB cable. The screen inside the Huawei VR, says Gizok, has a 639ppi pixel density and is like viewing a 130-inch TV from a distance of two meters. This would solve any quality issues, as even the Samsung phones have around 500ppi pixel densities.
The headset has a side control panel like the Gear VR, adjustable lenses for those who normally wear glasses, and also support for 360-degree audio, provided the software and your headphones are compatible. It’s not even clear if we’re being told about one, or two different devices, given how different each sounds.
We’ll know the proper situation when Huawei sends out official details. Other information circulating says the headset will come with 4,000 movies, 40 games, and a wide selection of panoramic images and tours. While these should be enough to get you started, the long-term success of any VR headset depends on a steady stream of software releases. Samsung’s solved that problem by partnering with Oculus, but there’s no news on Huawei’s future plans.
To continue the theme of not knowing much outside of the basic Huawei VR’s existence, we don’t know when the headset will go on sale, or how much it will cost. When, or if, more details are revealed, we’ll update you here.