HTC had a press conference at CES 2019 today as well, and it was a much smaller one, compared to the other companies making headlines today. This was mostly a VR press conference, where HTC announced the VIVE PRO EYE, and then later teased a new virtual reality headset that will be coming later this year, the VIVE Cosmos. This is going to be the virtual reality headset that will be mass produced and aimed at everyone. This is a headset that does not do eye tracking, but it does have a bevy of cameras around the outside of the headset, so it can tell where you are. There are two front-facing cameras, two side-facing cameras and then a pair of handheld wands.
Instead of using sensors and webcams that are separate from the headset – like some of the other headsets out there – HTC is using these cameras to track where you are and what you are doing. This is what is known as "inside-out tracking", which is something Oculus is using on its upcoming Quest headset. That's going to make it much easier (and cheaper) to get into the world of virtual reality, especially high-end virtual reality.
Desktop PCs or Smartphones can power the Cosmos
According to HTC, and there wasn't much details announced regarding the Cosmos yet, it can get its 3D imagery from a Desktop PC or a smartphone. That is something that definitely shocked everyone in the room when it was announced. Typically it's one of the other, but not both. And typically, desktop PCs would provide better imagery than a smartphone. Though, like we mentioned, there is very little details here, so it's unclear if the smartphone will just be connected, or if it would be inside the headset. As the Cosmos could have a display built-in that is higher-resolution than your smartphone. There's still a whole lot of questions to be asked about the VIVE Cosmos, and it's unclear when those questions will get answered.
Likely being talked about again at Mobile World Congress next month
HTC did say that it would be sharing more details "soon" about the Cosmos, but no word on when exactly that might be. HTC does usually head to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with VIVE and has a huge booth dedicated to VIVE (very little area for smartphones, though given HTC's recent past, that's not too surprising) demos and products. So it is very possible that HTC could announce the VIVE Cosmos at MWC next month. Though HTC could also wait for something like E3, which is a gamers' trade-show and where VIVE might make a bigger impact. Either way, this is likely to be a pretty popular virtual reality headset for VIVE, but that will depend on pricing as it always does. It also announced the VIVE PRO EYE today, and neither of which had many details, nor pricing and availability announced. So many that attended the VIVE press conference today left with more questions than answers. Hopefully those will be answered soon.
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) January 7, 2019