VR as an industry is in its infancy, and as such companies are trying to figure out what consumers want balanced with what technology and cost will allow. Included in this are things like the peripherals used to interact with the virtual world, tethered and mobile connections, and even down to the placement of the internals.
The headsets relying on a tethered PC connection, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, are powered by that PC so inherit all the processing power through the connection, but headsets like the Samsung Gear VR are self-contained, only used the mobile device for the display, so any features pertinent to that headset must come from dedicated hardware. Here within lies the problem: how to house bulky hardware in a headset but keep it slim enough to be portable and appealing?
Pico VR have reinvented the traditional hardware placement when it comes to VR headsets by placing the processor and major components needed to run it in the connected gamepad, which keeps the headset itself lightweight.
The Pico Neo features a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB storage (with a microSD slot), and reportedly runs a custom version of Android. The controller also has a touchpad and motion sensors, as well as the usual directional pad and buttons. The Pico VR headset itself provides a 1200 x 1080 resolution per eye, a 90Hz refresh rate, and 102-degree field of view, and weighs only 320 grams.
The full Pico Neo heads-and-controller set is expected to come out late June for around $550, with the headset reportedly available to be purchased separately for about $300 running off of a PC if preferred. Compatibility will certainly be interesting, and is unclear at this point if the Pico VR will be able to hook into existing ecosystems such as SteamVR, or if it will require its own platform.