Even though Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are still new in the VR headset market, they will soon have to contend with a new and much cheaper player in the field. The Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) project is set to release a new virtual reality headset named the Hacker Development Kit 2 (HDK 2) which will cost just $399 when released. HDK 2 will be a much improved version compared to the existing HDK 1.4 headset which is presently retailing for $299 apiece. In contrast, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets are currently priced at $599 and $799 respectively.
OSVR’s HDK 2 will feature an OLED panel with a resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels and a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. The headset will enable VR experiences at 90 frames per second and will come with a wide-angle 110-degree field of view. However, it won’t release with a headphone nor a controller which are present in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Still, thanks to its built-in OLED display, it won’t require a smartphone to work and will be a cheaper option for developers to test their apps and games. The open-source platform was announced at CES in January of last year by Razer who invited firms to join the project to help shape the platform. In April of this year, Acer became the latest, and probably the largest, among 350 partners who have joined in over the last year and a half. Given that HDK 2 is being designed to work with computers featuring not-so-high-end-specifications, it is possible that Acer will churn out a number of low spec computers later this year which will be able to support HDK 2 VR headset.
Despite being an inexpensive VR headset, HDK 2 will have to compete with Google’s newly-announced Daydream VR project as well, which will be compatible with a number of premium smartphones later this year featuring a standard list of specifications including a Super AMOLED display. Exactly a year ago, Razer secured Android device support for its open source VR development kit, which meant that apart from being supported by Android, it also brought in many new developers in its fold to work on future developmental kits. As of now, OSVR’s virtual reality headsets support positional tracking with the help of a Leap Motion controller and feature 360-degree cameras as well. Even though developers are expected to lap up HDK 2 soon after its release, it will be interesting to see if the open-source project will be able to keep its head above the water when Google’s Daydream VR starts taking hold of the VR-headsets market.