Mark Zuckerberg says that virtual reality is the future of computing. For a person who has turned the world around in less than a decade, that prediction may not be an exaggeration. If you have been in touch with technology news through the months, you’d know that the numbers check out. First, there was just Oculus Rift, then Google Cardboard arrived and changed the definition of VR devices a little bit. Now the latest Alcatel and Qualcomm VR headsets yet again put another type of VR headset in the tech dictionary.
The types of VR headsets are further blurred if you include augmented reality. HoloLens and then Magic Leap. Technically they too are virtual, augmented. It takes a very technology-conscious eye to see that deep down there is a different story why these types evolved in the first place. So let’s begin with the basics.
VR headsets types with examples
Strictly speaking, there are three types of VR headsets. Strictly because AR headsets are technically virtual reality devices, but not completely because, well, the former came first. Or, you can learn more about it on Google, I expect my audience to be at least that much aware. So here are the three types of VR headsets.
1. Run by computers
This is how it all started when Oculus Rift came into being, got snapped by #Facebook, and made Zuckerberg say that thing you read in the first line of this article. A #Smartphone company became jealous and HTC Vive came into being. Both devices just serve as a virtual monitor and controller while the heart of the machine continues to be PCs.
2. Run by smartphones
These are basically headgears and emerged later as Google Cardboard simplified the whole thing and said, “hey you back-benchers, you can experience virtual reality right on your smartphones!” It was somewhat close. Google Cardboard, while cheap, started to look good on everyone’s head. Eventually, Samsung followed by making the Gear VR. A series of other mobile-run virtual reality headsets rushed to get their share in the trending VR headset market.
3. Run by nothing
They run themselves, something you call “standalone,” a standalone VR headset was first demonstrated by Intel as Project Alloy. Somebody wanted to sell their chipsets to VR device makers and tell them, “hey, this is the better way.” Enter Qualcomm's wireless VR headset. Another “better VR headset model” featuring Snapdragon instead of Intel’s Atom chips. It is worth noticing both devices were labeled all-in in virtual reality solution. Eventually, Alcatel introduced the third virtual reality wearable in this category.
The war of VR headset makers
Everyone is in it for different reasons but driven by one fact: virtual reality is the future. VR technology is the biggest technological leap since the smartphone. Important question: who is the judge? Everyone! That’s how Apple has already sold its billionth iPhone. Virtual reality has already the world’s fascination. So the smartphone companies want to develop better resolutions and headgear, chipmakers want to sell their chips, and Facebook...well, Facebook wants everything.