HTC has officially unveiled a brand new VR headset called the HTC Vive Focus. It's a standalone headset that runs on HTC's own VR platform, the also brand new Vive Wave and has access to the Viveport content store for downloading apps and games.
Allow us to explain everything there is to know about HTC's new headset, including where it's available, when you can buy it and what it can do.
What is the HTC Vive Focus?
- 6-Degrees-of-Freedom tracking
- No need for external sensors or gaming PC
- Designed for comfort, additional 3-Degrees-of-Freedom hand controller
The HTC Vive Focus is a brand new VR headset announced by HTC at its annual Vive Developer's Conference. It was originally thought to be a Daydream headset, made in collaboration with Google, but those plans have since been cancelled.
The HTC Vive Focus will instead run on a new VR platform developed by HTC called Vive Wave. It's a standalone headset and has inside-out 6-degrees-of-freedom tracking, which means it doesn't need to be connected to a gaming PC or use external sensors to work. Instead, all the technology is built into the headset itself, so you can immerse yourself in VR gaming wherever you want.
The Vive Focus runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform with instant-on support while inside the headset there is a "high-resolution" AMOLED screen. The headband is similar to the Deluxe Audio Strap for the HTC Vive in that has an adjustment dial to help you find a snug fit, but it doesn't have built-in headphones.
Finally, the Vive Focus headset also comes with a 3-degrees-of-freedom hand controller, while the headset itself adopts a slightly unusual design, including a bright blue colour finish.
What is HTC Vive Wave?
- Open VR platform
- 12 hardware partners signed up
HTC Vive Wave is the VR platform that will run on the Vive Focus VR headset. It's essentially Daydream but for China instead, meaning the Vive Focus is the VR headset we expected to come to the UK and US, but running Daydream instead. 12 hardware partners have already signed up to the platform, including 360QIKU, Baofengmojing, Coocaa, EmdoorVR, Idealens, iQIYI, Juhaokan, Nubia, Pico, Pimax, Quanta and Thundercomm.
Vive Wave is an open VR platform, so when developers port content originally made for the HTC Vive across to the Vive Focus, they can either make use of the new 3DoF hand controller, or keep the 6DoF controls and use additional accessories.
Daydream and Samsung Gear VR content can be ported across to Vive Wave, too and any developers using Unity can upload content to Viveport at the click of a single button.
Where can I buy the HTC Vive Focus?
Unfortunately, the Vive Focus is only heading to China for now with no word on if and when it will come to the UK or US. Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC Vive's China President has said HTC is only focusing on China for now with the Vive Focus headset.
Is this different from HTC Vive 2?
HTC Vive 2/Oasis headset
Yes. HTC introduced the HTC Vive VR headset in 2015, and by late 2016, the company was rumoured to be working on a second-generation version, codenamed Oasis. According to @LlabTooFeR, who has leaked accurately in the past, HTC was developing a refreshed version in November 2016, though it was unclear at the time if that would be a standalone headset or just a slimmer, lighter version.
Anything else you should know?
Now that we've delved into what Google announced at Google I/O 2017, it's important to note that HTC revealed in early 2017 that it was making a mobile VR headset. At the time, it was described as something different than Google Daydream View and similar headsets. According to CNET, which spoke to Chief Financial Officer Chia-lin Chang, HTC developed a VR product compatible with the U Ultra:
“We have a good plan in terms of combining mobility with VR,” Chang said. “Vive is very top end, and in the coming months you'll see our plans in terms of mobility and VR, and it's not a phone slapped onto a headset ... It'd be a different thing.”
HTC already sells the HTC Vive headset, which is a lot like the Oculus Rift in that it needs to be tethered to a PC, though it also offers an add-on that turns the headset into a standalone device, but now, it's apparently developing something altogether different. The company specified that it wouldn't work like Google's Daydream View, which uses a phone for its screen, sensors, and processing power.
CNET itself labeled the upcoming device as a "new virtual reality toy", while Chang was a bit more vague. He did suggest, however, that it was a device that'll sit somewhere between the full-fledge Oculus Rift headset and a mobile VR headset like Daydream View.