Xiaomi announces the Mi VR Play, a virtual reality headset for your smartphone

xiaomi vr news version 1469786332 headset
Amaviael/123RF
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi just jumped feet first into virtual reality. On Thursday, the firm announced the Mi VR Play, an “entry-level” headset that relies on your smartphone to deliver VR apps, games, movies, and TV shows.

Specs

The Mi VR Play, much like Samsung’s VR, LG’s 360 VR, and other smartphone-dependent VR peripherals, is relatively simple, electronically speaking. It’s made of Lycra, a fabric which Xiaomi describes as “lightweight” and “durable,” and features “dual openings” on the front for airflow and “micro” adjustments. Uniquely, it’s able to accommodate a wide range of phones — any that measure between 4.7 inches and 5.7 inches, the company said — thanks to a two-way zipper grip that fits snugly around them.

Mi_VR_Play_05.0

A VR headset is nothing these days without a killer content library to match, and Xiaomi is bringing the goods. It’s partnering with Conde Nast Traveler and Chinese video service YuKu, among others, to bolster the VR headset’s library of content — efforts which will dovetail with the company’s pledge last year to invest $1 billion in video content.

Pricing and Availability

When the Mi VR Play launches in China sometime this year, it’ll be available in a variety of “bold prints and colors” — leopard print, denim, a print of van Gogh’s The Starry Night, among others. But details remain elusive. Initially, Xiaomi’s giving a “select few of the more than one million people that signed up the opportunity to beta test the Mi VR Play for just 1 yuan, or about $0.15. Information about a broader release to follow — plus final pricing — will be revealed in the coming weeks, the company said.

It’s unclear if the Mi VR Play will support Daydream, Google’s virtual reality platform on Android, when it officially debuts. Many companies said they will support the certifications for phones — it’s likely Xiaomi will eventually do so for the headset. So far, ZTE’s VR headset and Axon 7 smartphone are the first devices to be Daydream-certified.

Xiaomi just released the Redmi Pro smartphone, a strong entry at a low price of $225 to $300 depending on specs and storage. Knowing the Chinese company, this headset could be priced low, too. Again, we can’t verify this, and we’ll have to wait until the company makes an announcement later this year.

We’ll update this post as we learn more.

Update on 08-04-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added details revealed during Xiaomi’s official announcement.

Article originally published in July 2016. 

Gaming

Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for March 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for March 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Computing

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.
Computing

HP’s high-resolution VR headset provides comfort and Windows Mixed Reality

HP's new VR headset reportedly offers an exceptionally high resolution, highlights comfort and runs on Windows Mixed Reality. HP hasn't officially announced the new headset, but here's a look at some of its features.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.
Computing

Here’s how to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference

It is widely believed that Microsoft's WMC conference will be the stage for the unveiling of the next generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset. We have the live stream right here.
Computing

Microsoft unveils $3,500 HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019. Here’s what you need to know

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Cars

Nissan designers use HaptX VR gloves to shape future cars

New car designs usually start out as clay before becoming metal, but designers are now swapping clay for pixels. Nissan is using virtual reality gloves from HaptX that give designers a tactile feel of virtual models.
Computing

Apple’s AR Glasses could pair up with your iPhone in 2020

According to an investor note sent by reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's AR glasses will be mass manufactured starting in the fourth quarter of 2019, but not later than the second half of 2020.