VR (“virtual reality” for the acronym-challenged) is an old concept dating back to 1950’s Sci-Fi, which involves replicating for the user an environment which simulates their physical presence in worlds, whether real or imaginary. Sega, yes that Sega, came out with one of the first VR headsets in 1991, and there have been many over the years who have tried to usher in the virtual world to no avail. Much of the issue stemmed from the lack of supporting technology which has severely limited the positive experience for the user. All of that is beginning to change, and it’s happening quickly.
By now, if you’ve spent any time in the mobile or uber-geek world, you’ve probably heard about Oculus and GearVR. In many respects, they are both sides of the same coin: both are proprietary in their usage. GearVR is a mobile-powered headset (requiring a Samsung Note 4 or S6 as its screen) with Oculus optics, and Oculus is the full package but requires a wired connection to a high-powered computer to drive the technology. As a result, both are high-priced options for VR with at least $800 needed for GearVR (Note 4/S6 + GearVR), and $350 for the Oculus DK2 (Rift not available for purchase until Q1 2016) plus a relatively recent computer with high-end graphics, memory, Windows 7/8/10, etc. Of course there are other options (HTC and Valve’s Vive VR, LG’s VR, Google Cardboard, etc.), but all have their user-adoption issues and technology limitations.
Enter a new player, IonVR.
Hailing from the relative obscurity of Boise, Idaho, this new headset has begun to make a lot of waves in the VR world. Everyone who so far has been able to experience the IonVR, from Patrick Moorhead, in his Forbes article, to Robert Scoble, via his candid interview at Sun Valley, Idaho’s Tech on Deck 2015, have been singing its praises. In a world where skepticism about new technology is beginning to grow, companies are scrambling to get in line to check out this new VR offering.
The IonVR is an OS-independent, device-independent offering which allows anyone with a mobile device screen size of 4.6″ to 6″ to be able to experience VR content, regardless of mobile OS. No need to be tethered to your high-powered computer; no need to choose between Android or, gasp, iOS; no need to purchase a specific handset; no need to experience motion blur or VR sickness; and able to use with glasses. That sort of thing is easy to promise, but hard to deliver – and IonVR does. Coupled with XDA’s legendary Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire at the helm for software development, and some amazing, yet-to-be-announced VR software, the IonVR is the best at what it’s displaying versus the competition. With pre-orders currently underway, the price rumored to be the same or less than GearVR (without the hefty initial hardware cost), and delivery expected for Q4 2015, the IonVR is really poised to take the VR world by storm.