HTC has unwrapped its first standalone VR headset, and it's called the Vive Focus. The company also announced Vive Wave, a new open platform that will help developers build content.
HTC had teased the headset on more than one occasion this year, but at the Vive Developer Conference in Beijing it was shown off in all its glory. The Vive Focus is a standalone headset, and it arrives in a rather snazzy blue. It also has 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking, HTC has revealed.
However, HTC is making this version of the Focus available exclusively for the Chinese market, while telling Fast Company that the Daydream headset it had originally planned with Google will no longer go ahead. Sadly, it looks like you won't get your hands on this any time soon.
On Twitter, Clay Bavor, Google's VP of virtual reality, says Google and HTC remain "great partners" despite the cancelation of the Daydream headset. He pointed out that there are plenty of Google experiences on HTC Vive, and that he can't wait for people to experience Lenovo's Daydream headset.
With 6DoF tracking, the Focus is designed to give users total freedom of movement, cutting the cord that keep headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR tethered to reality. It uses a technology known as 'WorldSense', powered by Google's Tango technology, which will provide total freedom of movement so you won't need the basestations that give the HTC Vive its room-scale experience.
Like the Google Daydream View, the Vive Focus comes with a single controller, although this is only 3DoF. We also know the headset runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chipset, but those are all the specs we have to go on right now.
HTC says it's been working on the headset for a year and a half, but that wasn't the only thing it had to announce. It also revealed Vive Wave, a new development platform will help grow "the ecology of VR", according to the company.
Wave is also just for China, where there's a lot of fragmentation in the market. The new toolbox is meant to make it easier for developers build new content and import games from HTC Vive and other platforms. HTC emphasizes that this platform is open, in a hope to reduce the amount of customization needed by developers bringing their games and experiences across from other systems.
It can take less than a week to move from Daydream to the Wave platform, HTC says. Developers will also be able to add support for additional accessories, so they won't be limited to the 3DoF tracking controller.
HTC sees big potential in the education market, and it showed a demo of a teacher using a HTC Vive headset while students all used the Vive Focus; everyone was able to interact in the same virtual space.
Google announced earlier this year it was working with Lenovo and HTC on hardware for its Daydream platform that won't require a smartphone or PC to run it. It says it's still working with Lenovo on its standalone headset, while HTC promises to share more about what is coming for Western users next year.
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