Intel cancels Project Alloy

Intel has announced that it is officially ended its Project Alloy initiative. The project, which aimed to be the first truly wireless VR headset, with no need for cords, controllers or a separate PC, was meant to be shipping a reference design to its partners in the second half of this year.

Although the company has remained tight-lipped on the reasons for cancelling the ‘merged reality’ headset, but there has been speculation that the decision was made due to lack of interest from partners.

In a statement made to RoadtoVR, Intel elaborated on the decision:

“Intel has made the decision to wind down its Project Alloy reference design, however we will continue to invest in the development of technologies to power next-generation AR/VR experiences.

“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. Project Alloy served as a great proof of concept for Intel and the industry - showing what's possible in a high-performance, immersive and untethered VR experience. What we've learned through Project Alloy will inform future efforts.”

Changing its VR focus

The cancellation of Project Alloy does not signal a retreat by Intel from the VR/AR space. The company is still involved in developing and funding a number of VR-related technologies.

These includes the Movidius VPU, the Intel RealSense depth for sensing and six degrees of freedom solutions, and other enabling technologies including Intel WiGig, which will enable wireless PC-powered VR headsets.

One of the main reasons that Intel decided to pull the project could be that a number of its potential partners had already committed resources to building technology using Microsoft’s mixed reality reference design. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asus are all due to release mixed reality headsets in 2017 Q4.

Another reason could be an inherent problem with the design. In an interview with PC World Kim Pallister of Intel said that the company had come to the realisation that a standalone headset isn’t necessarily the best way to deliver VR, as it couldn’t compete with the performance of its PC-powered rivals.

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