HP Is Working on a New VR Headset with Valve and Microsoft
Andrew Wheeler posted on March 30, 2020 |
The Reverb G2 is headed straight for HTC Vive and Oculus territory.

The Reverb G2. (Image courtesy of HP.)

HP, Microsoft and Valve are collaborating to design and engineer a new VR headset called the Reverb G2. Its predecessor, the HP Reverb, was released in 2019 as a mid-grade headset with some decent features including a 2160 x 2160 per display resolution. The next best resolution was the HTC Vive Pro’s 1440 x 1600 resolution. HP released a teaser of the new Reverb G2, touting it as a “next-generation” VR headset. The collaboration with Microsoft may mean that some of their mixed reality HoloLens tech like inside-out tracking could be baked into the forthcoming Reverb G2.

The company released a 15-second teaser clip. You can see two cameras on the front on the Reverb G2 headset, but the back of the hardware is not shown. The Reverb G2 would need additional cameras to support inside-out tracking. This is a standard feature on Microsoft HoloLens and several Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets. Any VR headset built by Valve, HP and Microsoft will likely support Windows Mixed Reality OS as well as SteamVR.

SteamVR tracking is another feature that is virtually guaranteed to be included with the Reverb G2, since existing Windows MR headsets are compatible with it by default. On the HTC Vive, there are visible faceplates on the exterior that let users recognize the inclusion of SteamVR tracking. The Index headsets from Valve, however, do not have this indicator on the exterior. Instead, the SteamVR tracking is embedded within the headset. The input-output controllers are likely going to be upgraded from Windows MR controllers or reformed in some combination with SteamVR controllers.

In the teaser, the off-ear headphone design created by Valve looks like it will be integrated into the HP Reverb G2. The optics and other detailed specs are not available currently, but it seems like the combination of HP’s hardware design, Microsoft’s HoloLens technology and Valve’s usability could yield good things for the Reverb G2.

Bottom Line

This is the first hardware collaboration for Valve outside of the HTC Vive family of headsets. HP seems to be gunning for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s territory, and Microsoft is getting in on the action perhaps because of the prohibitively hefty price tag of their HoloLens series. There should be more information on this very soon.

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