5 VR/AR Developments We Can’t Wait to See at CES 2017

Alexis Macklin, Research Manager Insight Articles

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Virtual and augmented reality made a major splash at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016. This year, CES 2017 will feature announcements from several prominent VR/AR companies.

AR Debuts in Smartphones

CES 2017 will set the stage for Google Tango applications on smartphones. Lenovo recently announced Phab 2 Pro will be one of the first smartphones with Google Tango AR sensors. ASUS is also rumored to announce at CES the release of their Google Tango capable smartphone, Zenfone AR. Google Tango is the next wave for mobile AR with the sensors capable of 3D mapping the area, enhancing AR experiences beyond layering graphics on reality.  ASUS Zenfone AR will also be Daydream ready, which will make it the first phone that is capable of running both Tango and Daydream.

Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon 835 With Partners

Qualcomm announced improvements on it’s smaller, faster and more powerful Snapdragon 835 with VR and AR optimization. In tandem with the announcement, ODG will reveal two new consumer AR glasses, which is powered by the processor. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 is an advancement VR and AR have been waiting for: a strong, small processor. For VR and AR to succeed, computing power needs to increase, which will aid a higher quality experience

VR Headsets

There won’t be any major VR headset announcements as Oculus won’t have a major presence and HTC is not planning on announcing any advancements any time soon. Microsoft and its partners will be showcased at CES as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer have schedule releases in 2017. Lenovo has announced its VR headset to showcase at CES. The headset will be light weight, will be low cost (around $300) and be compatible with Microsoft’s holographic platform. Intel is also expected to announce more about Project Alloy, its standalone “merged reality” headset, that uses sensors to merge real world objects with the virtual environment. All other headsets will be new headsets from smaller companies.

HD Audio

Audio will have a presence at CES and this will largely impact AR and VR. Stages will show off spatial audio headphones at CES. Spatial audio will enhance a VR or AR experience are it creates a new layer of immersion and add audio interaction cues which can be used to tell stories.

VR Accessories

If VR headsets stole the 2016 show, VR accessories will be the unexpected success of 2017. Wireless connector KiwikVR by Scalable Graphics will debut at CES. The accessory will cut the cord through a WiFi connection and is said to be compatible with both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. There will also be various controllers and haptic devices on display.