Many people are familiar with Lenovo’s VR offerings. The company was the first to launch a standalone VR headset in 2018 with the Mirage Solo and its ThinkReality XR platform, targeting businesses that are growing in popularity. The ThinkReality A3 AR headset, which runs on the ThinkReality XR platform, has also gained significant momentum since its launch last year, as evidenced by Qualcomm’s selection of the ThinkReality A3 as the standard hardware for its Snapdragon Spaces platform and dev kit. While Lenovo’s AR dynamics have been trending for the past year, the company hasn’t updated its VR offering in a while. That all changed last week with the launch of Lenovo’s new VR headset, the Lenovo ThinkReality VRX, which offers a variety of updates to Lenovo’s enterprise VR offerings, including new mixed reality capabilities.
Lenovo designed the ThinkReality VRX from the ground up for enterprise applications. The headset’s balanced rear battery is designed to fit comfortably for long-term use, and acts as an effective counterbalance to the device’s front load (common with most standalone headsets). The front end of the headset is also thinner than previous generations of VR headsets thanks to Lenovo’s use of pancake optics to minimize size and weight. The headset also features high-resolution pass-through cameras for mixed reality applications, which I believe will be the slow start for new AR applications. The headset supports 6 DoF tracking with four outward-facing cameras, meaning it maps the area around it to allow the user to move freely within their respective area. The ThinkReality also works with 3-DoF experiences, which might make sense for applications where 3-DoF headsets are the dominant use case, such as: B. 360 videos. Regarding the capabilities of the ThinkReality VRX, Vishal Shah, GM of XR and Metaverse at Lenovo said, “With a focus on enterprise-grade quality, scalability, security and flexibility, the Lenovo ThinkReality VRX is designed as an entry point into the Enterprise Metaverse. From enabling immersive training and learning to address skill gaps and workforce shortages, to empowering virtual meetings and 3D collaboration for hybrid workers, the enterprise VR solution will take productivity to the next level.”
Since the ThinkReality VRX uses Qualcomm’s XR platform, the ThinkReality VRX should be competitive with the other standalone headsets on the market in terms of performance. In addition, ThinkReality VRX supports PC streaming solutions to enhance the graphical experience and increase the usefulness of the headset. I believe that all standalone VR headsets should have remote streaming capabilities from a PC by default, as there will be applications that only run on a PC or that may require a more powerful discrete GPU. The good thing about the ThinkReality VRX is that Lenovo has worked closely with NVIDIA to enable CloudXR for cloud-based rendering, meaning application developers don’t always have to rely on a PC to deliver higher-fidelity experiences.
Lenovo has spent the last few years not only revamping its AR and VR headsets, but also building a full suite of software and services for its enterprise customers. Lenovo sees itself as the only company on the market today that can offer not only XR hardware and support, but also the services and software to grow XR solutions at enterprise scale. As Lenovo’s XR and Metaverse GM Vishal Shah put it, “The VR solution also includes the integrated ThinkReality software platform to enable IT and operations to deploy, configure and manage XR devices at scale , which the company supports to support employees with updates and analysis to optimize performance.”
Basically, the hardware must be manageable and the applications must work like on a smartphone or PC. This means enabling all types of MDM solutions and working with the right ISV partners and consulting partners to develop solutions that fit a client’s needs. As such, Lenovo is incredibly flexible with the platforms it supports, allowing a variety of different ecosystem partners to evolve with its ThinkReality devices and platforms. Lenovo wants to make it easy for customers to have a single, familiar place for all their XR devices, and as such has long supported hardware from other companies on its ThinkReality software platform. Lenovo has also partnered with ENGAGE to establish a permanent Lenovo presence in the metaverse, where people can virtually explore Lenovo products and solutions, as well as meet and collaborate with partners and customers in the same room.
Prices and Availability
While Lenovo hasn’t given exact pricing or availability for the headset yet, it does have an early access program for select partners to get devices by the end of the year. The general availability of the ThinkReality VRX will be in early 2023, when we will also know the prices of the ThinkReality VRX. Given the ROI these headsets can deliver, particularly in training applications, I don’t really expect the price of the headset itself to be an issue unless it’s astronomical. I expect many of Lenovo’s partners will offer this headset as a service. In this case, the end customer may never know the actual price of the headset.
While we don’t know the final specs of this headset, we’ll soon be able to compare it to a growing field of VR offerings. Pico’s Neo 4 looks like a consumer-oriented headset, but I expect an upcoming Pro model will try to compete with Lenovo’s VRX. However, I don’t really think Pico has the corporate pedigree, software, support, and services to compete with Lenovo, especially given the company’s global reach. It remains unclear if Pico will ever launch in the US market — a limiting factor, especially when it comes to global companies. It also remains to be seen what kind of enterprise capabilities the upcoming Oculus ‘Quest Pro’ will have and how Meta will transcend its reputation as a VR gaming and entertainment platform. I’m eagerly awaiting the full specs of the Lenovo VRX and can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.
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Patrick Moorhead, Founder, CEO and Principal Analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, is an investor in dMY Technology Group Inc. VI, Dreamium Labs, Groq, Luminar Technologies, MemryX and Movand