The Lynx-R1 mixed reality headset has started shipping. As for pricing, the startup no longer seems to be targeting consumers.
The Lynx-R1 has a long history of development and delays. The headset was first announced in January 2020. In October 2021, a successful Kickstarter campaign took place, which brought the startup about $775,000. The original goal was to deliver the devices to backers in April 2022. After several delays, the first headsets are finally shipping.
More than 1,200 enthusiasts and companies have backed the project on Kickstarter. Lynx CEO Stan Larroque confirmed in his recent live Youtube session that Kickstarter backers and pre-orders will be served first, in chronological order.
It is not known when the last of these groups will receive their package. The first batch currently being shipped includes “a couple of hundred devices”. Delivery may be further impacted as the team performs a manual quality control on each unit.
First unboxing: Here’s what’s in the box
Larroque did the first unboxing in the live Youtube broadcast (see video below).
In addition to the headset, the box contains two accessories: an optional top strap for better weight distribution and a facial interface for VR users, which can be easily attached and removed thanks to magnetic holders. A USB-C cable and an instructions card are also included.
Dedicated controllers are not included and are still under development. The last update on the status of the controllers was given at the end of July. At that time, it was said that the controllers would have a unique design and would “probably” be shown during the fall. Lynx-R1, like Apple Vision Pro, relies primarily on hand tracking and has an excellent third party solution from Ultraleap on board.
Lynx-R1: No longer a consumer-oriented headset?
It is currently unclear when Lynx-R1 will be available to new customers. I have asked Stan Larroque, but have not yet heard back.
It is also unclear if Lynx still has a consumer strategy. Originally, the Lynx-R1 was going to be sold to businesses for $1,500.In July 2021, just before the Kickstarter campaign, the startup made a pivot and announced that it was targeting consumers instead, with a price tag of “a few hundred US dollars.”
Now the startup seems to have changed course again, saying that the Lynx-R1 will be priced at 1,299 euros. The only alternative is a developer kit, which isn’t cheap either. “At the moment we have a few developer kits available at 849 Euros, which will be discontinued soon,” says the latest FAQ.
The only difference between the Developer and Enterprise Editions is the license. Companies are allowed to resell the latter along with their software solutions. In addition, the Pro version offers direct support from the Lynx team.
Strong competition from Meta and Apple
The fact that Lynx is making another pivot in strategy comes as no surprise. The product landscape has changed due to the numerous delays of the Lynx-R1. The next few weeks will see the launch of the consumer-oriented Meta Quest 3 for $499, which is also a mixed reality headset, but unlike the Lynx-R1, includes a next-generation chip as well as a depth sensor. In addition, Apple laid its cards on the table in June and unveiled the Vision Pro. It is scheduled for release in early 2024.
Despite this strong competition, the Lynx-R1 should still find a solid customer base: Small businesses, government or cultural institutions, developers, and tinkerers who don’t want to buy into an existing ecosystem controlled by large corporations and want more freedom in terms of hardware and software access. Lynx is also working on a second generation device, which could be interesting.