Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 02, 2014

KOOM's New Virtual Reality Headset Offers VR Affordably

While large portions of the world are currently waiting with breathless anticipation for the appearance of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) device on store shelves, there are increasingly large numbers of alternatives heading for those very same shelves, likely eager to land a piece of the action before Oculus can even get in play. One of the latest such entries into the field is KOOM, whose NOON VR headset is set to hit both Amazon and eBay, and offer up a VR experience for a comparative bargain price.

KOOM is planning something of a complete charm offensive with its release of NOON, not only offering the headset up at a mere $79, but for those who place orders by December 15, free priority shipping will also be offered up such that delivery will be scheduled before Christmas. However, some reports suggest that only 5,000 such headsets will be on hand for the holidays, with more scheduled to arrive in early 2015, complete with a set of color options. The earliest releases will be in either black or white, which for most likely won't matter too much as such users will be focused on the VR presentation.

The NOON headset itself, meanwhile, is designed to work with smartphones, using a combination of the systems found in such devices and accompanying apps to produce the necessary content, which in turn is routed to the headset. Several frames are on hand to allow for different smartphones to be used, allowing the NOON headset the ability to work with the devices of several different makers. The system itself comes with not only advanced ventilation systems so as to keep lenses from fogging, but also high-end padding for the facemask portion itself to make its use more comfortable during longer sessions. Each lens in the system offers a 95-degree field of view, with a focusing dial located on the headset itself to adjust focus for those who are near- or farsighted. Head movements allow for navigation within the system, and since there are no external wires, the device is ultimately portable.

Of course, there's a sharp downside in the NOON headset, that might well explain its comparatively low price. Most reports suggest that this is exclusively a smartphone venture, which means those hoping to use it with consoles or PC gaming—or even a standard Blu-ray player—will be plain old out of luck. That leaves a lot of potential uses for VR somewhat out in the cold, and means that competitors will be able to build a case readily against the NOON on the strength of that deficiency alone. However, NOON might well have a following with users who want VR on the comparatively cheap, and there's certainly something to be said for the bargain market, as well as those who want VR as a mobile application more than anything else. But then this may well be met in things like the Google Cardboard and similar other devices that could be even less expensive than the NOON VR.

There may well be a place for the NOON in the market, though only time will tell if it's a place sufficiently large to accommodate the NOON's plans. The NOON isn't likely to ace out the Oculus, whenever it actually emerges and for whatever price point it arrives at, but it might well prove to trim some of the business out of some of the niches that would be interested.




Edited by Maurice Nagle




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