Standalone virtual reality devices to extend opportunity beyond mobile and tethered VR

ABI Research has suggested that Samsung´s standalone successor to its Gear VR can help build a bridge between mobile and tethered virtual reality (VR), the company said.

The upcoming device, along with like-minded imminent products from Apple and Google, will address a largely untapped portion of the VR market, hitting a sweet spot for consumers with low cost, efficient performance, and ease of use. The first opportunity to see these new devices will be at the upcoming Google I/O, where the company is likely to reveal not only a new VR device but also new VR features in Android OS.

ABI Research expects standalone VR devices to see a 95.4 percent CAGR through 2021, which is higher than mobile VR devices. They will likely cost between USD300 and USD500 initially, depending on specification. This will position them to be more expensive than mobile-reliant HMDs, such as Gear VR, but below tethered devices like the Oculus Rift, especially given their reliance on already expensive PCs or game consoles.

The shift to lower-cost, standalone VR devices highlights a few major obstacles currently facing the VR market. In the mobile space, heat and battery life are major concerns. Meanwhile, cost and portability are holding back high-end tethered VR from reaching its full potential. Middle-ground devices like the eventual Samsung and rumored Google products will help alleviate some of these obstacles by targeting lower prices than tethered VR and higher performance than mobile VR, as well as offer high quality VR experiences to a larger audience.

ABI Research implements technology decisions from a global team of senior analysts. The company covers more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors.