Browsing the web in virtual reality is a massive headache. Not only is it hard to navigate most sites, but oftentimes the text and other information on-screen is near impossible to decipher. This is a problem that HTC is looking to tackle, though, and the Vive team has thrown in their chips with Mozilla, Amazon Web Services (or AWS) and Fidelity Investments to create a working and useable browser designed specifically for use in virtual reality.
The main goal here, according to HTC, is to bring consumers an immersive browsing experience that is easy to use and navigate. This is, of course, no small feat and HTC appears to have some good partners in their endeavor. Dubbed Firefox Reality, the browser is being created with the help of both Mozilla and Amazon Sumerian—an application available through Amazon Web Services. With Amazon Sumerian, developers are able to create and run applications and games in virtual reality without having to dive deep into the code.
This should allow consumers to easily navigate the web, accessing their favorite websites for shopping, web surfing, video watching and more. Of course, there’s still no telling how useable the browser will actually be for consumers until we get our hands on it. Over the past few years, since the Vive released, we’ve seen a number of “desktop VR” applications that promise easy-to-use navigation on your desktop within VR. While they work okay, none have ever really hit the nail on the head.
While the news that HTC and Mozilla are making a virtual reality browser is exciting, it’s quite a change from some of the other announcements we’ve seen out of HTC today, which include the VR giant unveiling the Vive Cosmos, a new headset that promises to provide a comfortable and easy to set-up VR system.
If HTC and Mozilla can pull off creating a working and easy to navigate browser in virtual reality, then the future of actual desktop VR applications might not feel so bleak. Until we know more, though, all we can do is hold onto the promises that they’ve made and wait to see how it all pans out.
For more news from HTC and others at the tradeshow, make sure you check out our CES 2019 hub.