Xiaomi has unveiled its first ever smartphone-powered virtual reality headset: a device called the Mi VR Play. The Chinese company says the Play works with any phone with a screen size between between 4.7 and 5.7 inches, and is intended to "bring the VR experience to a much wider audience" in China, where the technology "is still in its infancy."
And, of course, it wouldn't be Xiaomi if the device's price wasn't news in its own right, with the Play initially selling for just 1 RMB — or $0.15. This comes with some caveats though. Xiaomi says this price is only available for beta testers, and it doesn't mention how many people can enter the beta program. (It does boast, though, that more than 1 million people registered for the beta after it was announced on August 1st.) Final pricing and availability are both a mystery as well.
Although the Play looks like a pretty standard smartphone-powered VR headset, there are two differences to competitors' products. Firstly, smartphones are secured in place with a zipper (is that better or worse than unclipping plastic housing? We'll have to try it out ourselves); and second, Xiaomi is making the Play available in "a selection of bold prints and colors," some of which you can see above.
It's not a big innovation, but it's nice to see something new in the market, especially when the biggest aesthetic change Samsung made to its recently updated Gear VR was switching the color scheme from white to black-blue. That being said, we're not quite sure if the world is ready for a denim VR headset just yet.