Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Solun Q, Playstation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Cardboard — those are just a few of the VR headsets that are fighting for a piece of the VR marketshare pie right now. Rest assured, the list will only get bigger. With that in mind, a new startup has just launched an IndieGogo campaign for the Marvel, a VR headset that is a bit like Gear VR and Cardboard, but with a twist.
Like the Gear VR and Cardboard, the Marvel VR headset uses a mobile phone for its brains. However, the big difference here is that the Marvel is claiming to provide a “virtual operating system” environment that isn’t just for gaming and entertainment, but for productivity and beyond.
One of the key features of the Marvel is that it offers an 180-degree field of view, which is a bold claim considering most VR headsets offer just 110 degree field of view. Similar to the Gear VR, the Marvel also has its own set of sensors that supplement the phone’s built-in motion tracking, as well as an NFC chip.
The real magic seems to be the app, which automatically takes over when you put your phone into the Marvel. Marvel bills this app as a “Virtual operating system” environment, but in reality it’s basically a fancy window manager that takes all your Android apps and put them in front of you in an easy to navigate 360-degree virtual screen. You can then use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to give what is essential a virtual PC.
The idea certainly looks and sounds cool, that is until you start questioning why you need the Marvel headset in the first place, when this app seemingly could have been released for existing VR devices. Marvel claims it has to do with the advanced sensors inside, though there doesn’t seem to be any sensors present that you can’t find in the Gear VR. The field of view certainly is at least one potential trump card for the Marvel VR headset, however.
As for the pricing? Early pledges can get it for $99, the same price as the Gear VR. Once the campaign is up it will reportedly retail for $250, which is pretty damn expensive for what is basically just a Gear VR that trades out the excellent Oculus Home app store in favor of a “virtual operating system” that may or may not prove to be that useful depending on your work habits and needs.
What do you think of the Marvel – like the idea or not? Share your thoughts down in the comments.