Intel Kills Project Alloy Reference Virtual Reality Headset Program
If you were one of the Intel fans looking forward to the Project Alloy VR headset that was to be an open reference design from Intel, the project has been officially cancelled. The reason cited by Intel for not pursuing the project any further was lack of partner interest. If you missed the hubbub about Project Alloy, it was first announced back in August of 2016.
Project Alloy was to be an untethered, merged reality headset with its own compute power, graphics, and RealSense modules integrated. The entire headset would have been self-contained needing no smartphone or computer to operate. Think of it as an Intel-flavored Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and you get the general idea.
One big plus for Project Alloy was that it would not need any external sensors to define the virtual space, with the RealSense cameras mapping the physical world. While Intel is stepping away from Project Alloy, it still plans to invest in tech for AR/VR experiences.
Microsoft told Road to VR, "We will continue to invest in the development of technologies to power next-generation AR/VR experiences. This includes: Movidius for visual processing, Intel RealSense depth sensing and six degrees of freedom (6DoF) solutions, and other enabling technologies including Intel WiGig, Thunderbolt, and Intel Optane. All of these Intel technology solutions are supported by a robust portfolio of software capabilities, and we’re building out a VR support ecosystem, from software design kits to reference designs, to spur innovation that’s enabling rich and immersive content."
Intel didn't get specific on why partners weren't interested in the headsets, however, one likely reason is cost. The HTC Vive isn't a budget product and with all the tech Intel wanted to cram inside, Project Alloy-based headsets would likely have been more expensive. Project VR was also large and bulky to boot. Intel was competing with Microsoft's own reference design, which did rack up serious support in the industry and this was likely the final nail in the coffin for Project Alloy. Microsoft's own Windows Mixed Reality platform counts Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Acer as hardware partners with the Dell headset already up for pre-order.