ZTE showcases Big Video ambition with new virtual reality headset

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 May, 2016, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2016, 7:38pm

ZTE, China’s largest listed telecommunications equipment manufacturer, is showcasing its ambitions in the coming so-called Big Video era by launching virtual reality (VR) headsets for its newest flagship smartphone.

The company presented its latest smartphone, AXON 7, on Thursday in Beijing as well as a virtual reality VR headset, called ZTE VR, which will rival Samsung’s Gear VR and Huawei VR. All three rely on smartphones for both computing and display.

The two devices are products of the company’s strategy to invest heavily in video, with industry experts predicting that video data traffic will account for more than 70 per cent of total network data consumption by 2021.

Equipped with a 5.5-inch 2K Amoled screen and dual built-in speakers, AXON 7, driven by dual Hi-Fi chipsets, is designed for global high-end video consumers.

The model is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 6GB of RAM and has a 3,250mAh battery.

ZTE VR, featuring a high-precision 9-axis gyroscope and proximity sensor, performs better than Gear VR and Huawei VR to reduce latency to about 16.7 milliseconds, said Waiman Lam, senior director of technology and partnerships at ZTE Mobile Devices, as Huawei VR has a latency of 18 milliseconds and Gear VR, 20 milliseconds.

The ZTE VR headset comes with a 96-degree field of view (FOV), same as Samsung’s Gear VR. By way of comparison, Huawei VR offers a 95-degree FOV and the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets 110-degrees.

The two devices can be pre-ordered in China from Thursday and in overseas market from next month, the company said.

“Coupled with ZTE VR, AXON 7 could be very competitive, offering an impressive VR experience for the users.” Lam said.

Phone makers face a competitive year in 2016 as subdued global growth and lingering currency weakness in key emerging markets sap consumer spending power.

China’s smartphone market, one of the world’s largest, is expected to grow a mere 2 per cent this year as the market is saturated and driven mostly by replacement users.

Apart from entering VR, ZTE will make video industry its core strategy as it has noted the trend of people watching 4K or high definition videos through TV or mobile phones, making video service the next value keystone for telecom operators, said Dong Zhenjiang, director of ZTE’s IT and R&D institute.

Both Cisco and Ericsson predict video will account for over 70 per cent of all mobile data traffic by 2021, up from 50 per cent last year.

ZTE proposed the Big Video concept and published its Big Video White Paper in February during the Mobile World Congress 2016, describing Big Video as the culmination of online video content, network of high bandwidth, Big Data and open ecosystem partnering with various industry insiders, Dong said.

In the Big Video era, ZTE will focus on helping telecom operators deploy Big Video services, he said.