CES always seems to have at least one major trend at the trade show, and this year's hot ticket is virtual reality. With a new HTC Vive headset, the announcement of the Oculus Rift's pricey consumer model, and all manner of smaller announcements, it's safe to say that VR is the belle of the ball on the show floor. But all of them have one thing in common: you can't fit them in a pocket. Even Google's super-cheap Cardboard system is about the size of a dSLR camera when assembled. Case maker Speck thinks it's solved that problem with a new design, which is about the same size as a phone.
The Pocket VR, as it's so accurately named, is basically the same thing as a Google Cardboard unit, but made out of plastic (minus the lenses) and collapsible. The plastic arms and a little bungee cord hold your phone in place, while the interior plate pops out to form a viewer. It isn't enclosed like most VR headsets (so it might not work in bright rooms or sunshine), but in all other respects, it's more or less the same - and Speck says that it's certified to work with Cardboard apps.
There are a few downers for this nifty little product. One, it's not slated to launch until "spring," which means we're probably looking at 2-4 months of waiting at least. Two, though the Pocket VR looks like it doubles as a phone case, it doesn't - Speck will be selling it bundled with a CandyShell Grip case, which the Pocket VR clips around when not in use. That also brings the retail price up to $69.95, a doozy for something as "cheap" as Cardboard. And lastly, at the moment Speck has only announced that it will be making the Pocket VR and case bundle for the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6/6s. That means that the majority of Android users aren't going to get in on the portable VR fun, at least for the initial launch.
LAS VEGAS - (January 6, 2016) - At CES 2016 Speck unveiled their first pocket-friendly virtual reality viewer to give consumers a quick and easy VR experience with a compact and collapsible design. Not only will users be able to enjoy VR experiences from the convenience of their smartphone, they’ll receive the added benefit of Speck’s military-grade protective CandyShell Grip smartphone case, which is included with the viewer.
Additionally, Speck is announcing their partnership with the world leader in cinematic VR, Jaunt, with whom they have created a custom viewing experience specifically for CES. “Combining Speck’s innovative designs and Jaunt’s world-class content, we’ve created the best possible virtual reality experience for everyday tech users,” said Miles Perkins, VP Marketing Communications at Jaunt.
Pocket VR is a Google Cardboard-certified viewer created by the award-winning Speck design team. When opened, Pocket VR and its precision-crafted lenses provide a rich viewing experience for 3D content, virtual reality, and augmented reality. When closed, retractable side panels fold into a perfectly flat, self-contained package that shields lenses from dust and scratches, and slides easily into a pocket or purse for on-the-go accessibility.
Speck’s best-selling CandyShell Grip smartphone case is the perfect companion to Pocket VR, which securely grips onto the case when in use. When not in use, the viewer can be easily stowed while CandyShell Grip will continue to provide smartphones with military-grade protection against everyday bumps and drops.
Pocket VR with CandyShell Grip will be available in Spring 2016 for iPhone 6s/6 and Galaxy S6. The VR viewer and phone case will be sold together as a bundled package for $69.95. Media can visit the Speck booth at CES for a customized Pocket VR demonstration. Find Speck in the North Hall at Booth #4506.