A tale of two trends: Price and weight of smartphones vs VR

When we speak to care practitioners about VR, two of the most common questions are about weight and cost. So we wanted to break down the numbers to elucidate some trends. And project where we might be by next year.

The trend with smartphones

A safe assumption would be that wearables will do what their smartphone siblings – with whom they share many components – have done: get more expensive and heavy. Like the flagship Apple and Samsung smartphones.

The iPhone has become 80% more expensive (over 4 times the rate of inflation) and 29% heavier in a decade. While the flagship Samsung smartphone has become 57% more expensive and 68% heavier.

Weight of flagship smartphones .    Smartphone prices

The trend in mobile VR

But with virtual reality, the opposite has happened: while capabilities have massively increased, consumer mobile VR has seen huge drops in price.

Take consumer VR cameras, for example. In a 15-month period (from June 2017 to October 2018) the leading VR camera for consumers increased in resolution by 10% while dropping 50% in price and 28% in weight. From the Samsung Gear 360 and Garmin Virb to today’s Insta360 One X.

The dropping weight of 360 cameras     The dropping cost of 360 cameras

At the same time, the resolution of consumer VR cameras has gone way up.

360 camera resolution increase

And mobile VR goggles have done the same. In a little over a 3-year period (from November 2015 to March 2018), the leading consumer mobile VR solution increased in field-of-view by 15% and became 16% lighter while dropping in price by 75%. From the Samsung S7 and Gear VR to today’s Oculus Go.

The dropping weight of mobile VR goggles     The dropping cost of VR goggles

Next summer’s specs

We crunched the numbers a bit more to see where the leading VR cameras and goggles might be for summer 2020.

If you assume the exact same trends, then we should expect VR goggles – with head tracking, without a smartphone, useable on-the-go – to be available for $120 and have a field-of-view of 125 degrees.

And we should see a VR camera that can shoot 6.3k and cost a mere $199USD, while weighing 82 grams – less than a pair of Beats headphones.

All of which should make VR creation and consumption more and more realistic to deploy at scale in health and social care.

Nicholas Babaian

Nicholas Babaian

Product & Sales