May 2, 2017

Acer Holo 360 VR Camera Doubles as your Smartphone

If you ever wanted a 360-degree camera but didn't want to carry a secondary device for it, Acer might have the answer with a VR camera that can also make calls and do everything a smartphone can.

Virtual Reality was the big buzzword of 2016, but it hasn't quite delivered on the promise and become mainstream even though we're almost halfway into 2017. Part of this is due to the lack of device support; it's hard to push something mainstream when most people don't have the hardware to use it. Acer is looking to fix that with the basic entry level tool into Virtual Reality social media posting: a 360-degree camera.

Introducing the Holo 360 camera, a device that is a 360-degree camera first, a smartphone second. It's designed to capture 3D virtual reality images on the fly out of your pocket, creating content for Virtual Reality headsets. The advantage of this is clear: most 360-degree cameras today are a separate module that needs to connect to your smartphone as an additional component. As the rise of the smartphone has shown us, people like convergence and having only one device in their pockets. It's why MP3 players like the iPod and digital cameras have largely died out in the past decade since the iPhone and other smartphones of its ilk rose to prominence.

It's also the reason why Timmy the YouTuber or Amy from Tumblr isn't so keen on jumping on the 360-degree camera bandwagon: they don't want to have another extra device in their pocket or bag. They just want to toss their phone in their pocket and be done with it.

While it's still probably going to be a tough sell to get people to replace their iPhones or Galaxy S smartphones with Acer's new bulky camera phone, Acer is banking on the device's VR capabilities to shoot, edit and post 360-degree videos directly to social media with its Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.

At the moment, Acer hasn't revealed all that much about the device, and there are a lot of questions regarding its true capabilities. Since it's a camera first and a smartphone second, it's also unclear whether people will be satisfied having it as their primary phone. But at least, the Holo 360 will provide a convenient, seamless and easy way to edit and upload 360-degree VR content, without the need for a separate PC. Acer may just something here.