Microsoft is counting on virtual reality headsets made by other companies to help establish personal computers running on its Windows 10 operating system as the best way to explore artificial worlds.
The devices unveiled Tuesday include a Samsung headset called the HMD Odyssey. The headset requires a connection to a PC running on a Windows 10 update being released Oct. 17.
That's unlike Samsung's less expensive Gear VR headset, which is designed to run on smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system. Samsung's HMD Odyssey will cost $500 and begin shipping early next month. The Gear VR sells for $40 to $130. PC makers Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo also will be making VR headsets designed to work with Windows 10 machines.
The prices for those headsets start at about $400. Microsoft also disclosed it's buying a startup called AltspaceVR to develop technology for holding business meetings in VR. The PC-driven headsets that Microsoft is embracing illuminate the dividing lines among some of the world's most powerful technology companies as they all try to hook consumers and businesses on products and applications that blend the real world with digital versions of it.
Both Apple and Google are focused on bringing a slightly different format called "augmented reality" to smartphones running on their software. Augmented reality, or AR, projects digital images into real-life scenes usually viewed through a camera lens.