Earlier this week at the HTC Vive Developer Conference in Beijing, HTC announced its first standalone VR Headset the ‘Vive Focus’ with 6DoF inside out positional tracking. The HTC Vive Focus is intended for the Chinese market and there is a slightly different version expected for the North American and European markets that is yet to be confirmed.
Last month, during the Oculus Connect 4 Event, HTC’s arch-rival Oculus announced its first affordable, standalone VR headset ‘Oculus Go‘ which is slated to be launched in early 2018. HTC who shares space with Oculus as a leading VR headset manufacturer apparently doesn’t want to fall behind. However, HTC has called off plans to launch a standalone VR headset on Google’s Daydream Platform which was announced earlier this year at the Google I/O 2017.
HTC Vive Focus Features
The HTC Vive Focus is a complete standalone VR Headset that comes with all the computing hardware baked-in and won’t rely on external devices like a PC or a smartphone. The Vive Focus features an AMOLED display and comes with onboard camera sensors to host the latest inside-out positional tracking features without any need for external sensors. The tracking software for the Vive Focus is supposed to be developed in-house by HTC or adopted from Qualcomm. However, if HTC plans to launch another variant of Vive Focus in the American market, it could possibly adopt Google’s unique ‘WorldSense’ tracking feature.
The HTC Vive Focus would come with 3DoF controllers, similar to the ones available with Gear VR and Daydream, that feature a trigger and a trackpad that only track rotation. This could be a bit of a turn off for HTC fans considering that Windows VR Headsets and the Oculus’ SantaCruz prototype are offering much more advanced controllers with their inside-out tracking features.
The HTC Vive Focus hosts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset which will make it easy for developers to port experiences and projects from Gear VR and Daydream. Also, this time, HTC has created its own platform for VR experiences. The Vive Focus will run on its newly developed and proprietary Vive Wave platform taking content from the Viveport.
HTC Pitches Vive Wave Integrated Open Platform
HTC seems to have moved a step closer to having its own VR platform. The new Vive Wave platform offers developers a unified interface and set of tools for developing content for the Vive Focus in addition to other mobile VR devices. HTC plans to integrate the Viveport platform with the Vive Wave and thus aims to reduce the “fragmentation” of VR standards. HTC is said to have joined hands with twelve Chinese hardware partners for integrating the Vive Wave platform into their hardware.
Other technical details like the resolution, FOV, battery life, cost etc are yet not available and will likely be released at the time of launch next year in 2018. While HTC has canceled plans with Google, another manufacturer – Lenovo – is now working in collaboration with Google on its own standalone VR headset. The headset will feature Google’s new ‘WorldSense’ tracking and is set to launch next year in 2018.