Are we headed towards a two-headsets future?
Mass market VR is coming. Fast. Putting aside Oculus and HTC's recent rollout fumbles, virtual reality is on a fast track to mass adoption and nothing seems to be getting in its way. But I can't help to think that, in the next few years, we are going to witness the absolute quickest miniaturization process in history. Especially as augmented reality starts to gather attention and consumer-ready AR solutions make their way into people's budget planning.
That said, AR headsets will have much to gain by going light and nimble. Let's face it, nobody wants to look like a dork in public, so the argument for an unobtrusive solution will be sold at "our lightest yet", wink wink, Apple. But is that also true of VR? I highly doubt it.
Just think of headphones. Earbuds have been around for a good twenty five to thirty years now, and over-ear, "Beats by Dr. Dre" studio style headphones are still selling like crazy. the buds are great for your daily run or on the bus, but when you're at home, you're looking for comfort and you don't really care what you look like. You want to be immersed in the sound, to feel the music better.
Why should visual stimuli be any different? Virtual reality is the home theatre of the future. And a good theatre needs to be pitch black, perfectly dark. I don't see any half-assed AR/VR compromised solution having any success at providing a quality experience of both. Sure, a million kickstarter campaigns will try to get you to pledge on a black AR headset case that protects AND serves as a darkroom for VR home use, but come on. These things always end up leaving you wanting more, don't you agree?
The way I see it is that, just like you have an iPhone and an iPad today and use them for different situations, just like you own both tailored suits and gym pants, you're going to want to have two headsets. A stylish one, untethered (and most likely with a twenty-minute battery) for outside the house, and an absolute beast of a piece of tech for your VR fix come "me time" back at home. And you know what? I don't mind it one bit.
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