Why it matters to you
Although it was previously available to pre-purchase, Acer’s headset for the Windows Mixed Reality platform is now generally available to all developers.
If you are eager to jump on Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, the company is selling the Developer Edition version of Acer’s mixed reality headset for $300. The device arrives after Microsoft announced its partnership with Acer and four other companies in October to create mixed reality headsets for Windows 10 Creators Update. After that, glimpses of the devices appeared during CES 2017 in early January followed by Microsoft’s announcement in May that developer models from Acer and HP would arrive at the end of the summer.
The Windows Mixed Reality platform, originally called Windows Holographic, is one of the core components of Windows 10. It resides on desktops, laptops, and even the Xbox One console, and currently supports Microsoft’s $3,000 HoloLens augmented reality headset. But Microsoft does not want to just stop with projecting holograms into physical space — it wants an all-in-one solution that includes an immersive virtual reality experience too.
Although October’s demonstration relied on the HoloLens headset, Microsoft revealed how Windows 10 Creators Update will enable its users to seamlessly transition from augmented reality to virtual reality. For instance, the demonstration showed how the user could shop online for a specific chair, and then pull a holographic version into the physical world to see how it complements a real table.
After that, the demonstration shifted over into a customizable, virtual space where the user’s favorite apps, such as Skype and Paint 3D, were placed on virtual shelves to be pulled down and used. Microsoft Edge appeared on a virtual wall like an interactive poster, and other immersive apps resided in a floating menu. HoloTour was one of the apps used during the demonstration, which instantly teleported the user to the front of the Roman Pantheon.
This is the direction Microsoft is taking with its Windows Mixed Reality platform. With the new Developer Edition headsets, creators now have the means for customizing their content for mainstream-friendly headsets that are supposedly hitting the market by the end of the year. Considering that the Acer “developer” model combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), spending $300 seems like a bargain when compared to other AR-free, PC-tethered headsets.
Here are the device specifications:
|Screen size||2.89 inches each (2x)|
|Resolution:||1,440 x 1,440 each (2x)|
|Field of view:||95 degrees horizontal|
|Refresh rate:||Up to 90Hz (native)|
|Ports:||1x HDMI 2.0
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
1x headphone / microphone jack
1x DisplayPort 1.2
|Other features:||Font hinged display
Detachable 13-foot HDMI/USB combo cable
Now here are the hardware specifications for the host PC:
|Processor:||Intel Core i7 chip with six cores or more
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
|Graphics:||Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 or 1060
AMD Radeon RX 480 or equivalent/better
|Graphics driver:||Must support DirectX 12 and WDDM 2.2|
|Memory:||16GB or more|
|Storage:||10GB or more of free space|
|Available ports:||1x HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 60Hz
or 1x HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 90Hz
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
|Operating system:||Windows 10 Creators Update with
Developer Mode enabled
|Other:||15-watt or greater thermal design power
At least a 800 x 600 resolution
32 bits of color per pixel