Update, 5/11/17, 1:37pm PT: Microsoft has published the specs of the two dev kits from HP and Acer, as well as the PC specs that will be required for them. We've added those details below and have altered the text accordingly.
Update 2, 5/12/17, 12:21pm PT: Microsoft confirmed the correct CPU in the PC specs chart. We have adjusted the text accordingly.
Original article, 5/11/17:
Starting today, Windows Mixed Reality HMD dev kits from both Acer and HP are available...for preorder.
Details on the pair are now available (see below). The Acer version will cost $300, and the HP model will be $329. They’re up for preorder in the U.S. and Canada via the Microsoft Store, and they’ll ship in August.
|Acer Mixed Reality HMD Dev Kit||HP Mixed Reality HMD Dev Kit|
|Display||-2x LCD displays (1440x1440)-Up to 90Hz (native)-2.89” diagonal display size (each)|
|FoV||95 degrees horizontal|
|Audio||Built-in, audio out/microphone through 3.5mm jack|
|PC Connectivity||Single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data)|
|Cable||4m||4m/0.6m removable cable|
|Misc.||--||“Double-padded headband and easy adjustment knob for all day comfort”|
The HP version looks remarkably similar to the Acer model (and the Lenovo one, for that matter). It has the same flip-up visor design, headstrap design, and front-facing sensors. And as you can see from the specifications, indeed, they're nearly identical.
It’s worth noting which OEMs are present from this announcement and which are missing. It’s certainly no surprise that the Acer dev kits are included--indeed, we already knew about them, and Microsoft has already publicly pledged to give some away--and we’ve known for some time that HP was working on a mixed reality HMD.
3Glasses already has a working prototype as well, though. Perhaps the fact that it’s not a major PC maker means Microsoft doesn’t trust that 3Glasses can produce its HMDs in volume, and thus it makes little sense to get devs hooked on that company’s product.
However, where are Asus, Dell, and Lenovo? Although we’ve been expecting HMDs from all three, the fact that we’ve seen and heard nothing substantive from any of them had us wondering if they’d abandoned the project. (It’s true that Lenovo showed an HMD at CES, but it was non-functioning.) However, a Microsoft rep inadvertently confirmed that Asus and Dell, at least, are building their own HMDs.
So why aren’t they included in the first crush of dev kits? That’s anyone’s guess, but if we take what Lenovo told us at CES--essentially, that they hadn’t even decided on which features to implement on the HMD--and assume that Dell and Asus are in the same boat, it’s likely that they’re just behind schedule. (That’s assuming they’re excited about Windows Mixed Reality; they may be dragging their feet and letting Acer--and now HP--bear the burden of gauging market interest and troubleshooting any problems.)
In any case, Acer and HP (and 3Glasses--don’t forget about 3Glasses) are now the standard bearers for Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Apparently, HP has HMDs ready to go (or almost ready to go), but for what it’s worth, Acer is building them like crazy; we’ve seen dozens and dozens of them all over the Build 2017 show floor.
The company has also published the minimum PC requirements that devs will need to support these headsets:
|PC Requirements For HMD Dev Kits|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Creators Update (Dev Mode enabled)|
|CPU||-Intel Desktop i7 (6+ Core)-AMD Ryzen 7 1700 (8 Core, 16 threads)|
|GPU||Notebook: -Nvidia GTX 965M, AMD RX 480M (2GB) equivalent or greater -DX12 and WDDM 2.2 capable Desktop: Nvidia GTX 980/1060, AMD Radeon RX 480 (2GB) equivalent or greater-DX12 and WDDM 2.2 capable|
|Graphics Drivers||Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.2|
|RAM||16GB or greater|
|Storage||>10GB additional free space|
|TDP||15W or greater|
|HDMI||-HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 60 Hz HMDs-HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 90 Hz HMDs-1x available graphics display port for HMD|
|USB||1x available USB port for HMDUSB 3.0 Type-ANote: USB must supply a minimum of 900mA|
|Resolution||-SVGA (800x600)-Bit depth: 32 bits of color per pixel|
|Bluetooth||>Bluetooth 4.0 (for accessory connectivity)|