Lynx-R1 is getting a price increase, from $850 to $1300, as the startup shifts its strategy.
The headset is designed with a focus on color passthrough mixed reality and hand tracking, with an open periphery design and high resolution cameras. Like other standalone headsets it runs a modified version of Android and supports OpenXR content.
Lynx-R1 was actually originally announced in 2020 as a $1500 product for businesses, but in 2021 the company announced a radical strategy shift, removing eye tracking to significantly reduce price and target consumers at "a few hundred dollars" via a Kickstarter campaign.
The startup is now essentially reversing that pivot and will "primarily target" businesses again, which it claims already represent most of its buyers anyways.
In a YouTube livestream and summarizing blog post the startup's founder Stan Larroque blamed the price increase on rising manufacturing costs and the need to make a return on the relatively low sales volume.
Existing Kickstarter backers and preorders will still receive their headset at the price they paid, Lynx says, but the price for new orders will soon increase to $1300.
The first backers receiving the headset may have found its microphone doesn’t work, however. The company warned backers in an email "our first shipping batch is far from being perfect and we would like to make you aware of two minor issues: esthetic damages on the faceplate and non-functional microphones", but claims it will provide a "free exchange option" to affected customers in Q1 2024.
The Lynx-R1 headset has dual 1600×1600 LCD panels and the first generation Snapdragon XR2 chip also used Quest 2 and Pico 4. It was originally supposed to ship in April 2022, but after four announced delays it finally started shipping in August this year.
Lynx has also been working on its own optional tracked controllers, which were supposed to ship to Kickstarter backers at the same time as the headset. But the startup says it has had to redesign them "to enhance accuracy and versatility", and they're now scheduled to ship in Q3 2024.
Had it shipped on time, Lynx-R1 would have been the first consumer standalone headset with color passthrough mixed reality, and thus could have become a major player in the consumer market. But the delays meant it was beaten to market by Meta's Quest Pro, and with Quest 3 shipping next week with a twice as powerful chipset at just $500, Lynx-R1 would soon have no longer been competitive for consumers anyways.
Even at its new $1300 price though, Lynx claims the headset's open periphery and balanced design with rear battery make it more appealing for many businesses than Quest 3, and its higher quality passthrough makes it more appealing than Quest Pro.