Acer To Launch VR Backpack PCs Next Year

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Acer To Launch VR Backpack PCs Next Year
September 19, 2016

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Taiwan-based PC brand Acer Inc. said Monday that it is planning to unveil virtual reality 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 is already shipping its StarVR headset, which it developed jointly with Swedish game company Starbreeze AB. The StarVR is expected to be adopted for use in a Los Angeles-based VR center of the global cinema chain IMAX by the end of this year.

The IMAX chain, with more than 1,000 cinemas in 72 countries worldwide, is the biggest customer for the StarVR and is planning to set up a similar VR center in each of its cinemas.

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 business clients to expand VR technology applications.

Acer is one of the Taiwanese companies 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 have gone on since April.

As one of HTC's partners, PC vendor Micro-Star International has launched its VR One backpack 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 tech 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 roll out niche smartphone products that will integrate its PC and phone development resources, he said. 

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