HTC reveals Vive Cosmos, a new VR headset with inside-out tracking

The VR world has been waiting anxiously for a new PC-powered VR headset, and HTC delivered at CES 2019. It opened the conference by revealing the Vive Pro Eye — a take on the existing Pro headset but with foveated rendering and eye tracking — but closed the conference with the Vive Cosmos, a completely new VR headset.

HTC focused on ease-of-use and comfort in order to attract more users, and the result is a headset with a flip-up display that relies on inside-out tracking from four cameras. That means no more base stations to set up and a more convenient and flexible fit. HTC says it wanted to create a headset that could be used just about anywhere, and it will apparently have the ability to be powered by more than just a gaming PC. Does that mean it will switch seamlessly between phone and PC? We'll have to wait and see.

As for motion controllers, gone are the traditional Vive wands, and in are some newly-designed pieces that resemble something a lot closer to Oculus Touch, complete with tracking ring and joystick. The biggest difference we could see was the funky lighting around the outside.

The Vive Cosmos is the first VR headset that will run the new Vive Reality System, which was also revealed during the conference. It is intended as a way for hardware and software to mesh, and it involves UI, Identity, Origin, Discovery, Watch, and Share elements. It's a redesign of the Vive's software and should bring it closer in line with what Oculus Home has to offer, where moving between VR experiences feels seamless.

Availability and price for the Vive Cosmos is expected to be revealed later this year, and developer kits should be made available in early 2019.