Although virtual reality (VR) has been a trending topic in the technology sector for the last few years, mainstream adoption hasn’t quite happened yet. It isn’t clear currently whether VR will be the next smartphone or just a niche market with potential that never truly develops.
But, what happens if VR headsets do become as common as phones or computers? No investor will want to be the one saying they missed out on the VR market surge when we are all walking around within artificial environments.
Clearly, it could end up being very profitable to know how to invest in the industry in the future, despite growth being stagnant for now. If only we could all go back and buy some Apple AAPL stock the day the first iPhone was announced…
Of course, the big name players in the tech sector have already tried to enter into the market. Each attempt received headlines but has not yet picked up much steam. Facebook FB started it with acquiring Oculus, a virtual reality startup, for $2 billion in 2014.The same year, Alphabet’s GOOGL Google introduced Cardboard, a simple headset that a smartphone could be inserted into.
Even Apple has been developing a VR headset called “T288” that is said to be targeted for a 2020 launch.
While it is important to monitor the moves these tech leaders and mega-corporations continue to make in regards to VR, there are other less talked about companies that are also in the VR scene. These stocks might not be all over the news every single day, but if you want to bet on the industry, it’s vital to keep these on your radar as well.
Kopin KOPN is a leading developer and provider of VR technologies and solutions for military, industrial, and consumer customers. Shares of the Massachusetts-based electronics manufacturer have been trading at under $5 for over 10 years, but were once priced at over $40 in the midst of the early 2000s tech bubble.
The company’s VR headset, called “Elf,” was a 2018 CES Innovation Award honoree for being the industry’s smallest headset ever created. The product only weighs 300 grams, less than half the weight of most popular VR headsets currently on the market. The headset also has a pixel density approximately 400% higher than conventional displays.
Uncomfortable bulkiness and unsatisfactory display resolutions have been long-standing barriers for bringing VR headsets to the mainstream. CEO Dr. John C.C. Fan thinks that Elf is the solution to that problem, stating that, “We believe this is the first VR headset that meets the size, weight and performance necessary to drive adoption of VR technology.”
Although Elf is only a prototype for now and not a commercial product, Kopin is certainly a company to keep your eye out for as it drives innovation in VR.
GoPro GPRO might not be as much of a pure-play into VR as previously mentioned Kopin, but the camera manufacturer has been quietly developing and launching VR capable products recently.
To say that GoPro stock has seen better times would be an understatement. Shares of the company hit a record high price of $86.97 in 2014 before steadily declining over the course of the next few years. Currently, GoPro is priced at $6.03 per share.
GoPro released its first VR camera, Omni, in 2016 and now also sells the Fusion, a 360-degree VR camera. The Fusion allows anyone to shoot virtual reality footage, and the product currently sells for $699.99 on GoPro’s website.
Additionally, Kolor is a GoPro-owned website and software that allows people to create virtual reality content by combining multiple photographs or videos.
Typically when VR is brought up, people think about putting on headsets and immersing themselves in an artificial world. However, GoPro provides the unique ability for people to actually be the ones creating that VR content. The company hasn’t had the best performance in recent years, but it could certainly be revived if VR takes off.
HP HPQ, more known for consumer PCs and printing, has been making VR a priority lately, and the company has released some groundbreaking products that could penetrate the mass market.
One of those products is a “mixed reality” headset that aims to bridge the gap between real and digital for consumers. It differs from a typical VR headset in that its system of cameras can let users either have real world objects in their virtual world or virtual objects in the real world.
Further, HP also recently launched the HP Z VR Backpack, described as the “world’s first professional wearable VR PC.” The product lets users move around and keep immersion within the virtual world. In the professional space, it allows businesses to train people with VR in any space.
HP appears to be ahead of the curve compared to other big tech companies and could be a major player if VR expands.
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