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Google and Lenovo Chase Facebook in the Standalone VR Market — The Motley Fool

Alphabet‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google and Lenovo (NASDAQOTH:LNVGY) lately launched the Lenovo Mirage Solo, a $400 stand-alone headset that runs Google’s Daydream VR platform. They additionally launched the Lenovo Mirage digital camera, a $300 point-and-click digital camera for capturing 180-degree VR content material.

The Mirage Solo is the second stand-alone VR headset to be launched this month after Facebook‘s (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Go. These two headsets may initially appear comparable, however they’re truly fairly totally different.

Lenovo's Mirage Solo and Mirage camera.

Lenovo’s Mirage Solo and Mirage digital camera. Image supply: Lenovo.

Who is the Mirage Solo designed for?

At $400, the Mirage Solo prices the similar as an Oculus Rift with Touch controllers. However, the Rift additionally must be tethered to an honest gaming PC, which prices no less than $500 to $1,000. The Rift additionally must be synchronized to exterior sensors.

The Mirage Solo targets shoppers who need a greater VR expertise than what’s discovered on phone-based headsets, however do not need to be tethered to a gaming PC. However, the Mirage Solo’s Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and 5.5″ LCD display are all elements that may be discovered in flagship telephones from final yr. The gadget additionally solely lasts as much as three hours on a single cost.

The massive distinction between the Mirage Solo and smartphone-based headsets is the addition of WorldSense monitoring, which makes use of two front-facing cameras and rotational sensors to trace a consumer’s actual world actions. This allows customers to maneuver round VR environments with out the want for exterior sensors or cameras. Other controls are dealt with by the basic Daydream controller.

The Mirage Solo has entry to over 350 VR games, apps, and experiences on the Daydream platform. Users who additionally purchase the Mirage digital camera can seize VR content material, which may be seen on the Solo.

How is the Mirage Solo totally different from the Oculus Go?

The Oculus Go prices simply $200, making it a extra budget-friendly selection than the Mirage Solo. However, the system additionally has much less spectacular specs. It sports activities a Snapdragon 821 SoC, a 5.5″ LCD display, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The 64GB model prices $250, and each variations last as long as 2.5 hours on a single cost.

Oculus Go.

Oculus Go. Image supply: Oculus VR.

Unlike the Mirage Solo, the Oculus Go lacks onboard cameras. However, it makes use of movement sensors to trace a consumer’s actions, which additionally eliminates the want for exterior sensors. The Oculus Go can entry over 1,000 games, apps, and experiences on Oculus Home, which provides it a a lot greater VR library than Google Daydream.

Facebook additionally partnered with Chinese tech big Xiaomi earlier this year to supply a Xiaomi-branded Oculus Go referred to as the Mi VR Standalone headset. But as an alternative of accessing Oculus Home, the Mi VR Standalone hyperlinks to the Mi VR Store for Chinese customers.

Will mainstream shoppers purchase both headset?

Mobile headsets like Samsung‘s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream outsold high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive by a large margin final yr, probably as a result of they’re cheaper and customers have quick access to smartphones.

Research agency Canalys’ newest numbers present that Gear VR and Daydream headset gross sales topped a million throughout the third quarter of 2017, whereas shipments of Sony‘s PlayStation VR, the Rift, and Vive remained far under half one million.

Analysts anticipate the marketplace for stand-alone headsets to develop. IDC claims that stand-alone headsets will account for almost half the complete AR/VR headset market by 2022, in comparison with simply 14.1% of the market this yr. The agency expects stand-alone headsets to account for 19.1% of the AR market in 2022, versus 29.eight% of the VR market.

A woman using the Mirage Solo.

Image supply: Lenovo.

However, buyers ought to take these forecasts with a grain of salt. Many analysts have been initially bullish on the whole VR market after Facebook’s takeover of Oculus in 2014, however dramatically decreased their forecasts when the Rift failed to realize momentum with mainstream customers.

The key takeaway

The Mirage Solo and Oculus Go may mark child steps in the proper path, however I feel apparent points — like the brief battery life, awkward look, and hazard of operating into issues whereas roaming VR environments — might restrict their general attraction for mainstream customers.

Of these two units, I feel the Oculus Go’s lower cost tag and greater content material library ought to give it an edge towards the Mirage Solo. However, I do not assume both system will transfer the needle for Facebook or Google anytime quickly.

Suzanne Frey, an government at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of administrators. Leo Sun has no place in any of the shares talked about. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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