Asus & Gigabyte May Enter Virtual/Augmented Reality Market

Taiwanese technology company Asustek Computer Inc. is one of the most well-respected and widely-known names in the PC and PC components industry. Of late, the company has also started making quite a name for itself in the world of smartphones with its ZenFone range of handsets that have proven to be quite a hit amongst large sections of the unlocked smartphone buying population globally. Asus, as the company is popularly known, is also reportedly prepping the launch of its third-generation smartphones, which promise to bring fingerprint scanners to Asus' mobile lineup for the first time. If recent reports are to be believed however, the company is apparently not content with just expanding its traditional PC and smartphone user base, and is looking to make forays into newer avenues of consumer technology.

Under charismatic founder and chairman, Mr. Jonney Shih, and enterprising chief executive, Mr. Jerry Shen, Asus is said to be eyeing the as-yet-unexplored, but replete-with-possibilities world of augmented and virtual reality. The company was earlier reported to be prepping its entry into the world of augmented reality with a product launch next year, something that was further confirmed during an earnings webcast back in October this year. According to what could be inferred from Mr. Shih's statements, Asus is likely collaborating with the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant, Microsoft, to create a cheaper version of HoloLens, Microsoft's fully untethered, holographic augmented reality eyewear. It wouldn't be too far-fetched to imagine Asus and Microsoft working together on augmented reality products, given that the two companies already share a cozy relationship, thanks to years of Windows-based PCs being churned out by the Taiwanese OEM.

Mr. Shih reportedly also argued that mainstream consumers are more likely to find uses for augmented reality headsets, when compared to virtual reality devices which seem to be all the rage currently amongst tech companies, who're trying to explore the newly-evolving consumer technology segment of virtual and augmented reality. Now however, reports coming out of Taiwan seemingly indicate that Asus may well be thinking of hedging its bets between the two distinct, but often-overlapping technologies. DigiTimes Taiwan is quoting its sources within the Taiwan-based supply chain to report that the company is fixing to introduce an all-new VR headset that will work seamlessly with Asus' gaming PCs based on the Windows (x86-64) platform and graphics cards based on AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

Digitimes is further reporting that another Taiwanese tech company, Gigabyte, may also try its luck in the VR market, and as such, has partnered with Chinese VR developer 3Glasses, whose CEO, Ms. Jessie Wang, earlier revealed that the company planned to enter the US market with it's VR offerings in 2016. Now, we'll have to wait for both the companies to make their respective plans official to know what exactly is cooking in the R&D facilities over at Taiwan, but fans of virtual and augmented reality will have a fairly interesting time of it next year, either way you look at it. It remains to be seen what 2016 brings, but it will be an exciting time ahead with the Oculus Rift said to be shipping early next year, the HTC Vive scheduled to ship in April and Sony's PlayStation VR (formerly Project Morpheus) also expected at some stage during the year, to compete with Samsung's Gear VR headsets.

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Kishalaya Kundu

Senior Staff Writer
I've always been a tech buff and have been building my own PCs since as far back as I can remember. My first computer was a home-built desktop running MS-DOS on which I learnt to program in GW-BASIC and my interests apart from technology include automobiles and sports.