Tue, Sep 20, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Acer Inc to launch VR backpack PCs next year

Staff writer, with CNA

Acer Inc (宏碁) on Monday said that it is planning to unveil virtual reality (VR) backpack PCs and other peripheral devices next year to support its VR headset, the StarVR.

Jerry Kao (高樹國), president of Acer’s IT products business, said the efforts to introduce VR backpack PCs and other related devices are aimed at building a VR application ecology for the growing technology.

Acer has already begun shipping its StarVR headset, which it developed jointly with Swedish video game company Starbreeze AB.

The StarVR is expected to be used in a Los Angeles VR center owned by the megascreen theater company IMAX Corp by the end of this year.

IMAX, with more than 1,000 theaters in 72 nations, is the StarVR’s biggest client and is planning to set up VR centers in each of its theaters.

The VR backpack PCs and peripheral products will target the business-to-business market, Kao said, adding that Acer is hoping to work with its corporate clients to expand VR technology applications.

Acer is not the only Taiwanese company to enter the VR market.

HTC Corp (宏達電), a Taipei-based smartphone vendor, launched its first VR headset, the HTC Vive, last year and global sales of the device began in April.

PC vendor Micro-Star International Co (微星科技), one of HTC’s partners, launched the VR Onebackpack PC to support the HTC Vive. Micro-Star has described the VR One as the world’s lightest VR backpack PC.

Acer, meanwhile, introduced a series of gaming PCs, including the Predator 21 X, at the IFA consumer electronics exhibition in Europe earlier this month.

The Predator 21 X, described by some technology reviewers as a “monster” in the gaming PC market, is the first laptop with a curved display, which Kao said caters to professional gamers.

In addition to expanding into the VR business, Acer has also entered the smartphone market as part of its efforts to diversify its product portfolio amid a slow PC market, but Kao said the company’s smartphone operations are still in the red.

Acer is planning to unveil niche smartphone products that would integrate its PC and phone development resources, he said.

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