During a Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) event held in Shenzhen in late 2016, several brand vendors including Acer, Asustek, Dell, HP and Lenovo revealed that they would be launching new head-mounted displays beginning in 2017. However, sources have noted that these companies are only expected to ship a low volume of units initially in order to gage market interest.
In addition, there has been an ongoing tight supply of AMOLED panels since at least 2013 that has put pressure on the supply chain due to the increasing size requirements of panels. The vendors are also expected to be affected, at least initially, by a scarcity of broad developer support for the Microsoft Holographic Platform.
So although component suppliers are looking for an influx of orders, they are remaining conservative on order volumes this year while giving Microsoft’s partners a chance to differentiate their initial product lines using the Windows Mixed Reality platform available with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. Some of the early headsets arriving in Q1 are expected to be priced as low as $299 and will feature resolutions up to 1440p per eye, six-degrees of freedom positional tracking and simple configuration for entry-level consumer and professional users.
The Chinese market is also expected to launch products in the first half of 2017, including one from 3Glasses that will feature 2K resolution, 110-degrees field of view, integrated headphones and a weight of just 0.78lbs (0.36kg).
During the WinHEC conference, Microsoft also announced Project EVO, a partnership with Intel to bring mixed reality (MR) to consumers beginning with the Windows 10 Creators Update arriving in April.