Alcatel launches a smartphone-free VR headset

The "Vision" has two 1,080 x 1,020 AMOLED screens.

Alcatel is not a big player in the global smartphone market, but that fact that it just launched a standalone headset shows how ubiquitous VR is about to become. The Vision doesn't require a separate smartphone like Samsung's Gear VR, but has all the guts of a mobile phone built right in. That includes an eight-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, Bluetooth, LTE and a suite of sensors including an accelerometer, gyro and proximity sensor.

In place of a smartphone screen, however, there's a pair of 3.8-inch AMOLEDs, each with 1,080 x 1,020, or around 2,160 x 2,040 resolution total. To make the headset balance better, Alcatel elected to put the 3,000 mAH battery on the back pad. The company told Mashable that it should have three to four hours of battery autonomy.

Alcatel also unveiled an inexpensive 360-degree camera, the Alcatel 360, that's equipped with dual 210-degree fisheye lenses and comes in rectangular and ball shapes. It reportedly works just by plugging it into one of the company's Idol 4, Idol 4S or Pop 4S phones, but there's no word on whether it'll work with other smartphone brands.

The challenge for Alcatel is that it's not plugged in with Oculus, Google's Daydream, or any other big VR players. Rather, it's reportedly working on its own Unity-based SDK and app payment system. It's also partnering with several companies including Jaunt VR and Fraunhofer, which will provide preloaded games and other content. All of that, plus the reported $500 to $600 price tag, will make it a stretch for consumers, considering the off-brand nature of the company.