This year saw two mobile hardware giants, Google and Apple, reassert their support for AR and VR developers and entrepreneurs. Google’s improved Daydream 2.0 library of software will provide developers the ability to get their software running on more Android devices than ever. At their WWDC conference, Apple introduced ARKit, a rival software suite that will grant iOS devices a formal API for augmented reality development. While AR and VR are still arguably in their infancy, these moves by the two most influential mobile device companies show that the technologies are being embraced by the big hardware manufacturers. With wide AR and VR adoption on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to compare and contrast the most popular hardware platforms available for your app, as well as what’s required of your users.
AR VR Mobile Phone Technology
Like photography, the best VR and AR device is the one you have with you. Phones produced even from a year or two ago easily have the graphics processing power to handle low-resolution virtual reality experiences. This was at the heart of Google’s Cardboard initiative, which largely succeeded in exciting the public about the possibility of everyday VR and AR experiences.
While mobile devices have not yet reached the levels of fidelity offered by dedicated hardware like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, users require no additional hardware to get in on an engaging VR experience. Phones lend themselves well to the task because of their high-resolution screens, integrated GPS and accelerometers, and availability. All that’s required of the user is to purchase a headset, which are nowhere near expensive as dedicated hardware.
Oculus Rift VR
Credited with delivering the promise of a new and modern VR renaissance, Oculus Rift is a Facebook-owned company that produces dedicated virtual reality headsets. Presently, the Rift is marketed to and primarily used by gamers. Without any additional accessories, the Rift is capable of head tracking, but does not track a user’s movements around a room. Without Oculus Touch add-on, Rift does not track a user’s hands for 3D input. The Rift also requires a substantially powerful desktop computer in order to render its graphics. The result for the average user is a substantial upfront investment in order to experience low-latency VR. However, the Rift offers unmatched visual fidelity compared to a standard phone.
Mobile phone manufacturer HTC produces a product similar to the Rift, but goes one step further. Seeking immersion for its users above everything else, the Vive supports full full-body motion tracking through a series of sensors deployed around a room, as well as control that users grip in order to interact with the VR experience. The result is that users can walk around a virtual space, peeking around corners and looking over ledges, and even crawling around. This interactivity comes at a cost, however. Users can expect to pay substantially more than both a phone and the Rift for a Vive. Space is also a premium that must be paid, as the Vive requires a dedicated floor space to be clear in order to work properly.
Work with VR and AR Specialists
No matter what platform or hardware you want to create an augmented or virtual reality application for, you’re going to need one thing: A proven technology leader. Our engineers and programmers distinguish themselves because they are committed to learning the latest AR and VR technologies. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game, an interactive experience, or enterprise application. We’re ready to work with you to make your concept a reality. If you’re exploring the possibilities of AR or VR, make sure to contact one of our account executives to see how Zco can help you achieve your goals.