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HTC sees mixed reality as the next “disruptive technology” after smartphones

(Image credit: HTC)

HTC expects mixed reality, the combination of virtual reality and augmented reality, to become the next “disruptive technology” after smartphones.

“There are some technical hurdles now such as resolution and tracking the ability to move forward but we want to overcome that. Vive Reality is the ability for us to switch between real life, mixed reality and full virtual reality,” Graham Wheeler, president for HTC Europe, Middle East and Africa, told TechRadar Middle East after announcing the winners of the “VR & Beyond” competition held in collaboration with Burj Khalifa, HTC Vive and Dubai Future Accelerators.

The competition, themed around the Burj Khalifa, was initiated in November 2018 and received 115 virtual reality submissions globally. The winner – Game Cooks from the US - and runner-up estudiofuture from Spain, were honoured on Thursday.

With 5G and artificial intelligence coming into the picture, Wheeler said that the Vive Reality experience is going to change dramatically. “It is not because of the speed of 5G but because of the latency. We use machine learning in some of the development techniques, which I cannot elaborate on now, but the combination of 5G and AI will put VR as the next entertainment medium,” he said.

Moreover, he said that HTC’s to-be-launched premium PC VR headset Cosmos, has a halo design and has taken some of the feedback “we learned from our previous headsets”. “We believe that Cosmos is an exciting step in VR and opens it up to new audiences,” he said but did not reveal more details about the headset. According to HTC’s website, Cosmos has an LCD display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,700 pixels, an increase of 88% over the original Vive, and 40% better lens clarity over the original model.

Foreseeing the future of VR

Wheeler said that the VR market is growing at a rapid rate. “The growth curve is brilliant for us and nothing is a success overnight. With governments, venture capitals and companies coming to the forefront of investing in the content, the market has a bright future down the lane,” he said.

HTC’s Viveport has more than 3,000 apps, with more local content developers set to be added in. Wheeler noted that many companies are turning to VR to drive education, training, design and retail sales.

According to research firm International Data Corporation, worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) is forecast to reach $160 billion in 2023, up from the $16.8 billion in 2019. The research firm said that the worldwide shipments of AR/VR headsets are forecasted to reach 8.9 million units in 2019. 

By 2023, virtual reality headsets are expected to reach 36.7 million units while the AR headset market forecast to reach 31.9 million units in 2023.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, said that new headsets from brands such as Oculus, HTC, Microsoft and others will help fuel the growth in 2019 and beyond.

However, he said that it's not only the new headsets that will drive the AR/VR market forward but also the latest chipsets from Qualcomm.