Why Hardware is so Important for AR/VR

Big Companies Enter the AR/VR Space

This is a new coming of age for AR/VR.  Big companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook are jumping into AR/VR technology.  They invest and sometimes acquire AR/VR companies.  However, this technology is not brand new.  The application is not a new idea.  But these incoming giants are bringing in new opportunities for startups.  Also for companies that are using it in different areas.  Especially in VR, which requires a lot of hardware installment and ideas to make it easier for people to acquire.  That is a major key.  In the last two years, a lot of people have become interested in seeing that more and more.  Therefore companies are jumping into this area.  But on the consumer side, the one thing that we have to think about is that if the devices or channels are not widely used as a consumer product.  It will never be accepted.  The VR price point is too high which is why VR only has 15% of the market share.

What we are seeing now is that companies like Apple, which recently launched their new iPhoneX and can distribute more devices into the user’s hands.  We can see a lot more companies will want to see what can be used with the devices in relation to AR/VR in the coming years.

The Difference Between AR/VR

AR/VR are two different industries even though they are both related to reality.  For AR, with more devices in the consumer’s hand, I can see the development of more applications for services, marketing, and even gaming.  However, for VR, this might be the hybrid or transition point.  A lot of hardware companies are not yet ready for devices that can be ready to be delivered to consumers.  So this is a kind of experiment period.  We are trying to figure out what will be the next step when people really want to see something virtually without any hardware support.  So as a lot of startup companies join the VR sector they usually start with a game.  This is because all these hardware companies are asking and trying to find the people who are willing to do the content for them.  Without the content the hardware is useless.

Evolution of Hardware in VR

With the evolution of the hardware development, this might be the transition by the time we are ready for virtual reality.  They might phase out this old hardware/wearable requirement.  However, at this moment, it is fine for the consumer, marketing company, or enterprise to jump in.  Because with your phone it can be a feature everyone can use.  There can be a lot of applications AR/VR can be used for.  Such as tourism, transportation, shopping, and education.

One of 500 Startups portfolio companies does coding to teach kids to code with AR by bringing the entertainment aspect to the education space.  So right now in this industry, we can see the application used widely and can be easily adopted by the consumer/users.   But for virtual reality, what we can see right now is more industries like food companies, factory companies where it can be dangerous for workers to be trained.  Instead, they can use VR to train without the risk of injury.  This is why most of the money in AR/VR will come from enterprises rather than consumers.   I am hoping that for the game companies and content companies, they can still grow along with the hardware companies and make sure that when they are ready to deliver the hardware you are ready to deliver the content as well.

Jackey Wang
Jackey Wang

A full-time entrepreneur, part-time world traveler. A proud graduate of UC Berkeley in engineering. Passionate about innovation and you can often find her tackling great problems everywhere. Jackey is the co-founder of Tickle Labs and now is the 500 Startups’ venture partner in Taiwan.

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