We’ve been waiting for solid details from--well, from anyone--about the inexpensive VR HMDs that are supposedly coming from several PC makers. Today at GDC, Microsoft announced that an Acer-made HMD dev kit bearing the ungainly title of Acer Windows 10 Mixed Reality Development Edition is nigh.
We first learned that several PC makers were planning to build VR HMDs (at the probably not-so-gentle-prodding of Intel and Microsoft) around Computex 2016 time, and at WinHEC, we learned more about the range of specs to expect from the upcoming HMDs and the PCs that will support them.
We were a little surprised that we saw only one prototype HMD at CES--from Lenovo--but now there’s one about to hit the wild in the form of the aforementioned Acer HMD dev kit.
It will offer a resolution of 1440x1440 per eye (706ppi) on LCD displays with a refresh rate of 90Hz. It has built-in audio out and a 3.5mm mic jack, and you can connect it to your PC via a single HDMI 2.0 cable (for the display) and a USB 3.0 cable (for data). Also note that this appears to offer some semblance of mixed reality.
The "phased rollout" of these dev kits, starting with those who received a "golden ticket" for attending the Windows Mixed Reality session at GDC, will begin later this month. The kits include Acer's HMD as well as "documentation and access to Windows 10 Insider preview builds and the software development kit (SDK) to enable developers to build mixed reality applications." Microsoft said in a blog post that it plans to bring MR to more devices in the future:
We’re also excited to share that Windows Mixed Reality experiences will light up on other devices over time, beyond desktop and Microsoft HoloLens. Our plan is to bring mixed reality content to the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, in 2018.
For now, those are the only details we have available. Microsoft will start sending out the dev kits “soon” to content creators. As before, the company stated that we should expect to see devices like the Acer HMD hit the market around the holidays this year, and said it will share more at Build 2017.