Alcatel is better known by its Idol series of Android smartphones. I’m sure that if you try to think for companies who have entered the Virtual Reality World, won’t be one. But when lately see more and more companies to enter in this game. Alcatel decided that the burgeoning sector could hit $150 billion by 2020, so had to enter! For this reason Alcatel announced its take on the soon-to-be-ubiquitous VR headset: the Alcatel Vision. The hook? The Vision, unlike much of the competition, doesn’t require a smartphone!
Samsung’s got the Gear VR, a virtual reality peripheral for the company’s Galaxy handsets. ZTE’s got the ZTE VR. Xiaomi very recently showed us Mi VR. At IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, we tried Qualcomm’s VR headset, and it’s even sharper than the Vive or Rift. So let us see what is really Alcatel offering to us.
The Alcatel Vision is, looks like Microsoft’s augmented reality HoloLens headset. It is entirely self-contained, it looks a bit like a bulkier Oculus Rift unit, albeit one less angular in appearance. On the left side we can see a touch-sensitive trackpad. On the right are “plus” and “minus” volume adjustment buttons. On top is plastic, clip-on housing for the Vision’s 3,000mAh battery that can double as a forehead rest, and around back is a thickly padded headrest. Vision look like a very well polished package, with a thoughtfully designed. The company says that has managed to engineer a mask area large enough to accommodate glasses.
Vision can quite easily packs two 3.8-inch, 1080p (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) AMOLED displays, one for each eye, that deliver latency below 17 milliseconds and an effective 120-degree field of view. In order to have this function, Vision uses an octa-core processor of an unknown make and model paired with 3GB of RAM. For connectivity uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE radios. Despite all that power-sucking equipment, Alcatel estimates it’ll last about three hours off a charger.
Now, how Vision really work, it is not announced yet. This think makes unclear the fidelity of experiences that the Vision will manage to deliver. Alcatel said it’s working with a number of third-party partners including video production house Jaunt VR, game publisher Magic Interactive Entertainment, and audio firm Fraunhofer, to produce VR videos, and said the headset will sport a library of over 100 VR-optimized videos and over 50 games when it launches globally.
Alcatel hasn’t officially announced the price of Vision, but we think it will be between 499 and 599 euros, or about $560 to $670. This means, if the price is confirmed, it will take a place at the pricing list between HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. This means a tough sell, considering both have half a year’s head start.
Alcatel 360 Camera
Alcatel had also a suprise for us. Except the Vision, announced the 360 Camera, a self-descriptive virtual reality shooter. Images that captures can be viewable in devices like the Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and Google Cardboard.
Alcatel’s is trying with this movement to cover up lost time. Beaten to the punch by Samsung, which released the Gear 360 — its take on the concept — earlier this year, and LG, which debuted a 360-degree video solution the form of the 360 Cam. Xiaomi also released some time a go the 360 Mi camera. But Alcatel’s is trying to cover it up with the low price that the 360 Camera will have. Alcatel announced it for 99 euros, or about $110, when it goes on sale around the end of the year. That’s significantly cheaper than both the 360 Cam ($200) and Gear 360 ($350), but not from Xiaomi (70$).
Alcatel hasn’t announced the hardware compilation of 360 Camera. The only thing we know is that there will be two models, one square in shape that’s “half the size of a credit card” and the other roughly size and shape of “a coin,”. Both of them will share the same dual 210-degree fisheye lenses and internals.
They will plug into the Micro USB port of the Alcatel Idol 4, Idol 4S, or POP 4S smartphone to shoot, and stitch together the internal cameras’ feeds in real time to produce 360-degree content. Alcatel has partnered with 360-degree camera makers 360fly, ALLie Camera, Arashi Vision, and Primesom to help build out the Vision’s video library. Whether or not filmmakers will bite is another story, but given Alcatel’s wherewithal — especially in light of competition like Google’s Daydream platform — we wouldn’t be surprised to see developments in the interim.
So what is your opinion about the two new announcements of Alcatel!?